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Additional resources for Developments in German Politics
Finally, the Chancellor principle means that the Chancellor ‘determines and is responsible for the general guidelines of policy’ (these guidelines must be observed by ministers in conducting their departmental, business). As the following discussion will seek to show, these principles are open to political interpretation; their relative importance has varied over time and across policy areas, and a degree of tension amongst them is inevitable. 2). The government as a collegiate body is often referred to as the Cabinet.
The decision to divide the Federal ministerial administration between Bonn and Berlin according to a ‘combination model’ has given a further impetus to the concentration of directive powers within political support units. There are now two categories of ministries: those with their 30 Government at the Centre principal residence in Bonn, and those who have most of their staff in Berlin (BT-Drucksache, 1999; Goetz, 1999). However, both the Federal government as a constitutional organ and the legislature reside in Berlin, so that ministers and their closest aides and advisers necessarily spend most of their time in the capital, regardless of whether they head a Bonn or Berlin ministry.
And while many aspects of the operation of the Federal government are highly formalized, unofficial arrangements regularly complement, and sometimes supersede, formal institutions and operating procedures. The Federal Government in Context Government at the centre implies parliamentary, party, coalition, federalized and Europeanized government. This fivefold characterization not only helps to locate the Federal government in the wider political system, but it also points to the nature of the key relationships the government entertains with other political institutions and gives a first indication of the chief political constraints under which it operates.