German liberal democratic basic order

Saturday, 21 October 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Editorial, EU blog post series, European Union
Reading Time:  3 minutes

Reichstag in Berlin © Cezary Piwowarski/cc-by-sa-3.0

Reichstag in Berlin © Cezary Piwowarski/cc-by-sa-3.0

The liberal democratic basic order (German: freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung (FDGO)) is a fundamental term in German constitutional law. It determines the unalienable, invariable core structure of the German commonwealth. As such, it is the core substance of the German constitution. Building upon more general definitions of liberal democracy, the term has a specific legal meaning in Germany and is part of the German (originally West German) system of a Streitbare Demokratie (“fortified democracy”) that bans attempts to dismantle the liberal democratic basic order by what German authorities refer to as “enemies of the Constitution” or “extremists”.

In practice, the concept has been used to target far-left groups and in the ideological struggle against East German communism during the Cold War, when the concept was closely linked to the state doctrine of anti-communism in West Germany. Theoretically the concept is associated with anti-totalitarianism and with the scholarly field of democracy and extremism research in Germany. While often relying upon scholars in this field, the decision that a group threatens the liberal democratic basic order is ultimately a political decision that is the responsibility of the interior minister at the state or federal level, or, in the case of a ban, a legal decision that is decided by the judiciary.

The FDGO touches on the political order and the societal and political values on which German liberal democracy rests. According to the German constitutional court, the free democratic order is defined thus:

The free democratic basic order can be defined as an order which excludes any form of tyranny or arbitrariness and represents a governmental system under a rule of law, based upon self-determination of the people as expressed by the will of the existing majority and upon freedom and equality. The fundamental principles of this order include at least: respect for the human rights given concrete form in the Basic Law, in particular for the right of a person to life and free development; popular sovereignty; separation of powers; responsibility of government; lawfulness of administration; independence of the judiciary; the multi-party principle; and equality of opportunities for all political parties.

People and groups that threaten the liberal democratic basic order are referred to as “enemies of the Constitution” or “extremist” in German government and legal language.

Read more on Internationale Politik Quarterly – Defending the Liberal Democratic Order and Wikipedia Liberal democratic basic order (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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