German President and Federal Chancellor
The head of state in Germany is the Federal President. The presidency is primarily a ceremonial post. The President represents Germany and does not have any authority to make political decisions. He/she is elected for a term of five years by the so-called "Bundesversammlung", a special federal assembly comprising members of the Bundestag, the Bundesrat and figures from public life in Germany.
The leader of the government is the Federal Chancellor. The Chancellor and ministers (e.g. foreign minister, finance minister, interior minister) make up the "cabinet", in other words, the government. According to the Basic Law, the German Chancellor determines the guidelines for his/her government’s policies. The ministers represent their respective portfolios independently and autonomously, within the guidelines set by the Chancellor. To elect a Chancellor, a majority vote of members of parliament is needed.
- Konrad Adenauer, CDU (1949-1963)
- Ludwig Erhard, CDU (1963-1966)
- Kurt Georg Kiesinger, CDU (1966-1969)
- Willy Brandt, SPD (1969-1974)
- Helmut Schmidt, SPD (1974-1982)
- Helmut Kohl, CDU (1982-1998)
- Gerhard Schröder, SPD (seit 1998)