Get to know Bavaria
Cosmopolitanism and coexistence among different cultures are as much a part of the State of Bavaria as maypoles and lederhosen. They are permanent elements of the Bavarian culture. It's not only the many millions of foreign tourists who value this.
There is also the ever-growing number of people who make the decision to stay in Bavaria permanently. In the year 2011 alone, 181,000 people moved to Bavaria from all over the world. Every fifth resident in the State of Bavaria has foreign roots. This means that Bavaria is clearly an immigration land, where special emphasis is placed upon peaceful coexistence among people from a great many cultures.
Germany is a democratic country. Of course, this also applies for the country’s states, which also means Bavaria. All Germans can participate in political life and the political decision-making process – on the local, state, federal and European levels. That is why many people are active in parties, interest groups and citizen initiatives. The Bavarian Landtag (State Parliament) (website in German) represents the Bavarian people, while the German Bundestag (National Parliament) represents all Germans, which also means all Bavarians.
Political Parties in Bavaria
In Bavaria, the political parties present candidates for election to local and city councils, the Bavarian Landtag, the German Bundestag and the European Parliament. The parties' programmes vary, you can find information about their positions and opportunities for getting involved on their websites.
The opening articles of the German Constitution (Basic Law, Articles 1 to 19) are of particular importance, and they have corresponding articles in the Bavarian Constitution as well. These articles guarantee, for example:
- Protection of human dignity
- Right to life and physical integrity
- Equality for all before the law
- Freedom of faith
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom of the press
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom to choose an occupation
- Protection of property and right of succession
Elections in Bavaria are always:
- General: All women and men 18 years and older possessing a German passport can vote and be elected. In elections for the European Parliament and for local and municipal councils, EU citizens also have the right to vote.
- Direct: The people vote for members of parliament either directly or via a list, not indirectly via an electoral college.
- Free: No one may exert pressure on voters to vote for a certain candidate. There is no obligation to vote.
- Equal: Every vote holds the same weight.
- Secret: Only the overall results of an election are published, the vote of each individual remains secret.
Freedom of religion
The German Basic Law guarantees freedom of religion for all people in Bavaria.
- Everyone has the right to choose his or her religion freely.
- Everyone has the right to profess a religion along with others.
- Everyone has the right to belong to no religion.
- All religions are treated equally.
There is no state church, and the state is obligated to act neutrally with regard to all religions. However, there is partner-like cooperation between the state and religious communities.
Live and let live
One of Bavaria's greatest strengths is dealing with differences. For inhabitants of the oldest regions of Bavaria, for Franconians, Swabians and for the great number of people who have moved to Bavaria, letting other people be how they are goes without saying. "Live and let live," the Bavarians say to that end. What they mean is: There is no pressure to assimilate.
Of course, the incomparable Bavarian mentality is not the only thing upon which coexistence in Bavaria is founded. The legal foundation is laid by the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the Bavarian Constitution.
Rule of law and security
All decisions made by the state in Bavaria are subject to laws, and can be reviewed by courts. This is how the rule of law directs state conduct and protects the rights of all citizens.
The high level of employment - even among the youth - and the people's prosperity make Bavaria the safest place in Germany. With 4,977 criminal offences per 100,000 residents in the year 2012, the State of Bavaria has the lowest crime rate of all German states. Bavaria's security agencies do their part in achieving this: The Bavarian Police have the highest case clarification rates in all of Germany.