Can a country function without a constitution

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Type: Article, Main topic: Constitution

The current version of the Basic Law of May 23, 1949 is the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Source: Henning Schacht

external linkBasic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (GG)

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The Basic Law (GG) was first deliberately created in 1949 as a provisional regulation of the basic state order. The term “Basic Law” was intended to express that it was a provisional solution. It should not stand in the way of a desired reunification. In terms of content, however, the Basic Law contained and still contains all the features of a constitution that has since proven itself in over 60 years of state practice.

The Basic Law: a provisional constitution

The Basic Law in its earlier version provided two paths for the desired reunification of Germany. On the one hand, the accession of other parts of Germany to the scope of application of the Basic Law according to Art. 23 GG (old version, old version), and secondly the possibility of the German people adopting a new constitution according to Art.

In the Unification Treaty of August 31, 1990, the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic decided to restore state unity on the basis of Art. 23 GG old version. The parliaments of both German states confirmed this decision with a two-thirds majority.

After the Unification Treaty, the preamble to the Basic Law was revised. It is made clear that with the unity and freedom of Germany completed in free self-determination, the Basic Law applies to the entire German people. Art. 146 GG in the new version also clarifies this.

Changes to the Basic Law

That does not mean that the Basic Law always remains as it was decided by the Parliamentary Assembly in 1949: The procedure for changing the Basic Law is regulated in Article 79 of the Basic Law.

According to Article 79.1 sentence 1 of the Basic Law, the Basic Law can only be changed by law. Such a law requires the approval of two thirds of the members of the Bundestag and two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat (Article 79, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law). Fundamental principles of the constitution cannot be changed according to this procedure (Article 79.3 of the Basic Law).

Inadmissible changes to the Basic Law are:

  • the structure of the federal government in the federal states
  • the fundamental participation of the federal states in the legislative process
  • the principles set out in Articles 1 and 20

The central principles include the core content of fundamental rights, which is comprised of the principle of human dignity, and the principles of the structure of the state such B. the principle of democracy, the principle of separation of powers and fundamental elements of the rule of law and the principle of the welfare state.

Constitutional bodies

Constitutional organs are the highest federal organs whose tasks and powers are determined in the constitution, i.e. by the Basic Law (GG).

Permanent constitutional organs of the Federal Republic of Germany are:

  • the German Bundestag (Art. 38 to Art. 48 GG)
  • the Federal Council (Art. 50 to Art. 53 GG)
  • the Federal President (Art. 54 to Art. 61 GG)
  • the federal government (Art. 62 to Art. 69 GG)
  • the Federal Constitutional Court (Art. 93, Art. 94, Art. 99 and Art. 100 GG)

The joint committee (Art. 53a GG) and the Federal Assembly (Art. 54 GG) are so-called non-independent constitutional organs.