Germany: Dispersed Leadership

  • Robert Elgie
Part of the Comparative Government and Politics book series (CGP)


In Germany, as elsewhere, historical factors weigh heavily upon the current exercise of political leadership. Just as the weakness of government in the French Fourth Republic instilled the need for executive leadership in the Fifth Republic, so the weakness of government in the German Weimar Republic (1919–33) instilled a similar need in the Federal Republic (1949– ). Similarly, just as the experience of Mussolini’s dictatorship created the desire to limit executive power in post-war Italy (see Chapter 7), so the experience of Hitler’s Third Reich created a similar desire in Germany. As a consequence of these historical factors, political leadership in the Federal Republic is marked by conflicting tensions. On the one hand, unlike the situation in Japan and Italy, there is a personalisation of political leadership within the political system. Yet, on the other, unlike the situation in Britain and France, there are strongly entrenched, formal limitations to the extent to which such leadership is personalised. As such, similar to the USA where there is a form of divided leadership, in Germany there is a form of dispersed leadership (Müller-Rommel, 1988b, p. 152).


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© Robert Elgie 1995

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  • Robert Elgie

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