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Germany: World Cup Finalist Reflects Country Politics

July 10, 2014

By Amy Waggoner

Germany’s government is based upon the 1949 Basic Law, containing the key components of democracy, republicanism, federalism, and social responsibility. The head of state is the President, currently Joachim Gauck, whose primary duties are ceremonial and supervisory in nature. The head of government is the Chancellor, whose primary job is to oversee the two houses within Germany’s legislative branch. Angela Merkel, Germany’s current Chancellor, has held this position since 2005. The German legislative branch is comprised of an upper house, the Bundesrat, and a lower house, the Bundestag. Chancellor Merkel’s political party, the Christian Democratic Union, formed a grand coalition in 2013 with the Social Democratic Party. While criticized by some for not doing enough to keep Europe’s economies afloat during the economic crisis, Merkel’s policies have been credited with maintaining a strong German economy.

Reunification of West and East Germany has been and remains one of the most prevalent social issues in German society, and the country’s National Team functions as a robust rallying tool for German citizens. Serving as a national cohesion, football gives Germany a measure of self-confidence and pride, as their World Cup statistics affirm. The National Team has obtained world-champion status three times—1954, 1974 and 1990—and has consistently placed 7th position or better on a global stage of 31 World Cup final round spots. Immigration issues have also pushed to the forefront of modern Germany’s social state with the advent of the European Union’s open border policies and the maturity of second and third generation German residents of Turkish and African descent. Germany’s National Team sets a progressive example in this area, as well, with four key players—Mesut Özil, Jérôme Boateng, Lukas Podolski, and Sami Khedira—of Turkish, African, Polish and Tunisian descent, respectively. German citizens have come to accept and appreciate their football team’s diversified squad, and 2014 is shaping up to be the year when all Germans unite towards the most commonly-desired goal: to be the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions.

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