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Article 2017.03.16 Leg­is­la­tion

Lawmaking is an important tool of policy management and at the same time a communicative social process that follows rules set by the Constitution and the constitutional bodies’ rules of procedure.

In a parliamentary democracy, making laws is the responsibility of the legislative branch, the parliament. At federal level, most new legislation is drafted by the Federal Government, to be passed by the Bundestag, the German parliament, with the participation of the Bundesrat before it is signed into law by the Federal President and promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette.

Federal laws are adopted by the Bundestag, in general with a majority of the votes cast. The Bundesrat represents the federal states (Länder), and its members are appointed by the respective governments. The participation of the Bundesrat in the legislative process depends on whether its consent is constitutionally required for a bill to become law. If consent is not required, the Bundesrat can only object to the bill and the Bundestag can overturn its objection with the necessary majority.

Finally, laws enacted in accordance with the constitutional provisions are certified by the Federal President after countersignature of the Federal Chancellor and competent federal minister and promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette. In case of doubt, the Federal Constitutional Court decides whether federal laws comply with the Basic Law.

When drafting new legislation, the Federal Government follows the principles of better regulation, which means considering the actual, legal and financial impacts of the new legislation on stakeholders, how it fits in with existing legislation, and arguments for and against regulation, while attempting to find the best balance between the various interests under the existing conditions.

Further information on the German legislative process can be found on the internet websites of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.

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