Konrat Pekkip: German Politics

Konrat Pekkip, a freshman here at U of M, is planning to major in political science. He was born and raised in Heidelberg, Germany, so Her Campus asked him a little about how politics in Germany work, and what he thinks of American politics in comparison.

Her Campus: What type of government does Germany have?

Konrat Pekkip: It’s a parliamentary democracy. The head of the government is the chancellor, while the head of state is the president.


HC: How does the German President’s role differ from the American President’s?

KP: The role of the President in Germany is a representative role, not a political role. He is similar to the Queen of England. He doesn’t make political decision, but no law can be put in place without his signature. However, he cannot refuse to sign a law.


HC: So how are German elections run?

KP: In general elections, the people vote for members of parliament. Most of the time, the members of government are members of the parliament. The elections are both majority and proportional because each person gets two votes: one for the direct candidates of each voting district, and another for the party of their preference.


HC: What do you think of the American election system in comparison?

KP: Due to the bipartisan system, minority opinions don’t matter as much; in this way, the German system is better, though it also has its flaws.


HC: What inspired you to become a political science major?

KP: After the Fukushima crisis, there was a big movement in Germany demanding the government to shut down power plants (which they followed through with), and about a month after that, for the first time, my state voted a Green Party member as their state’s prime minister. These events made me realize you can actually have an impact on politics and the people actually can successfully call for change if they are politically active, and it is what made me become politically active. Consequently, I have declared my major in political science.


Image courtesy of: Morgan Wastell.