What is the legislature made of?
What is separation of powers?
The three forces
In order for people to live together in a state well, there must be laws. They should ensure that everyone has the same rights and that the freedom of all citizens is guaranteed. In order to prevent that one person alone decides on all laws, three different departments, also called "powers", should take care of it. Behind each of these forces lies a group of people. You will find out exactly which people later in the text. Here are the rough areas of responsibility of the three powers:
The first violence is that legislative branch, the legislative power. It should make laws so that everyone in the state knows what is allowed and what is not. The second violence is that executive, the executive power. She should implement the laws in everyday life and make sure that everyone adheres to them. The third violence is that Judiciary, the judiciary. It is supposed to punish people who do not obey the law. These three powers control each other. Everyone keeps an eye on each other and ensures that nasty laws do not come into force and that people are unjustly punished.
Separation of powers in Germany
The separation of powers is laid down in Article 20 of our constitution. The separation of powers must therefore be implemented in Germany. This is how the three powers are divided with us:
- The legislature:
The legislative power can pass laws. In Germany, the legislature includes the Bundestag, Bundesrat and Landtag. There are representatives who were elected by the people. They advise on possible laws that are then binding on the other powers. However, you have to adhere to the laws that are prescribed by our constitution. In addition, the laws must first be signed by the Federal President before they can come into force.
- The executive:
The executive must implement the laws that have been devised by the legislature. It includes the federal government, as well as the state governments and all employees who work in the ministries, offices and authorities (e.g. the police or the health department) It then works like this: Imagine a new law comes into force that says, that every child has a right to delicious school meals. Then the executive has to make sure that this is actually implemented. In that case, the Ministry of Culture would be responsible.
Additional information: The executive is often involved in the legislative process itself. It can propose laws to the Bundestag if it sees that there are problems somewhere.
- The judiciary
All courts belong to the judiciary. Different courts are responsible for different tasks. One thing determines how people will be punished who have not obeyed the law. Another decides whether a proposed law complies with the constitution. Judges make the verdict. You are independent and must not be influenced by anyone. However, they must of course make judgments that they can justify by existing laws. So you can't just say, "You're going to jail because I think you're stupid."
Who controls whom?
The three powers are not strictly separated from each other, but very confused. They depend on each other and can therefore control each other. It works like this, for example:
The citizens elect the members of the Bundestag (legislature). The MPs elect the Federal Chancellor, who is then the head of the government (executive branch). In addition, the Bundestag (legislature) elects half of the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court (judiciary). All members of the government and judges are only officially secure in their posts once they have been appointed by the Federal President (executive). The Federal President, in turn, is elected by the Federal Assembly (legislature).
This example shows that the close cooperation of the three powers means that everyone can look over everyone's shoulder. No violence can just do what it wants. This is how a democratic system is maintained.
What happens without a separation of powers?
If the three powers are not separated from each other, but are all controlled by the government, the government can also decide on everything that happens in a country. For example, if the courts are no longer independent from the government, it can simply decide who goes to jail for what. So if someone in the people complains about the government and they don't like it, the government can simply arrest them. It can also prohibit people from meeting to demonstrate. So laws can be passed that actually contradict the constitution. Citizens' rights, such as freedom of expression and assembly, are at risk.
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