| The present
constitution dates from May 1949, the Federal Republic of
Germany being formally established 4 months later. The
country is a parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature,
Bundesrat and Bundestag, with 68 and 663 members respectively.
Executive authority lies with the Federal Government,
led by the Federal Chancellor. The Federal President is the constitutional
head of state. Each of the states has its own legislature with power
to pass laws on all matters not expressly reserved for the competence
of the Federal Government. The former German Democratic Republic
has been absorbed into this system, adding 5 new states to the total.