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The Origins of Chancellor Democracy and the Transformation of the German Democratic Paradigm

Hans Mommsen
German Politics & Society
Vol. 25, No. 2 (83), SPECIAL ISSUE: Western Integration, German Unification and the Cold War: The Adenauer Era in Perspective (Summer 2007), pp. 7-18
Published by: Berghahn Books
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23742809
Page Count: 12
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The Origins of Chancellor Democracy and the Transformation of the German Democratic Paradigm
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Abstract

The role of Konrad Adenauer in the proceedings of the Parliamentary Council in Bonn and his decision after his election as first federal chancellor not to form a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party paved the way to a fundamental transformation of the traditional German democratic paradigm versus the Anglo-Saxon concept of interaction between government and parliamentary opposition. The inherited pattern of constitutional democracy that had contributed to the structural weaknesses of Weimar parliamentarism was replaced by the concept of an interaction between government and opposition. Political parties took on the primary tasks of securing stable parliamentary majorities and providing sufficient electoral support for the chancellor. Adenauer's resolved political leadership, therefore, was an indispensable contribution to the reorientation of West German political culture from the former distrust of unrestricted parliamentary sovereignty toward Western democratic traditions.

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