The political system

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FRG

  • Federal states (Lander) had significant responsibilities and power.
  • A formal Head of State with a President with ceremonial and largely symbolic role.
  • 2 chambers or houses of parliamnet. The Bundestag (members were elected) and the Bundestrat (made up of representatives sent from each region of the FRG.
  • Elections were by a complex system of proportional representation.
  • Any political party with less than 5% of the vote could not take seats in parliament - This stopped the rising of extremist parties.
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GDR

  • A federal state, although the five Lander wre later replaced by smaller Bezirke run from East Berlin.
  • A formal Head of State with a president with a ceremonial and largely symbolic role - The role of president was taken over by the Council of State when Pieck died in 1960.
  • Two chambers or houses of parliament - The Volkskammer was the elected national assembly, with a majority of seats for the SED           - The Landerkammer's membership was made up of representatives sent from each region of the GDR.
  • The main political force was the General Secretary of the SED who increasingly controlled the other political parties and the mass state organisations.
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