Constitutional politics seemingly corroborate the assumption that Germany is a Grand Coalition state. In this perspective German cooperative federalism and the supermajority required for any amendment to the constitution privilege bargaining and intertwined policy-making as modes of conflict resolution and thus support grand coalitions. In this paper I will explore whether this theory can explain constitutional politics in the German Länder. Firstly, I examine how far sub-national constitutional politics match the functioning of cooperative federalism that is a defining feature of the Grand Coalition state. Secondly, I examine sub-national constitutional politics in the five new Länder and bring the role parties played in this policy field to the fore. Overall, I conclude that cooperative federalism did not impact on constitutional politics in East Germany and that the features of consensus democracy are only partly able to explain law-making in this sector.
Werner Vandenbruwaene, Patricia Popelier and Christine Janssens
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