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Federal Council of Germany

The Federal Council of Germany (in German: Bundesrat) is the representation of the 16 Federal States (Bundeslšnder) at the federal level.

The governments of the 16 Bundeslšnder are represented directly in the Federal Council. Each state has 3 to 6 representatives, depending on population, who must vote together as a block, accumulating a total of 69 votes. The representatives are bound by direction of the state governments.

The Bundesrat is involved in the legislative process to a varying degree depending on the subject matter of a certain bill to be passed. Some laws require the full consent of the majority of the Council's members, others do not. The exact process of legislation is quite complicated.

It is frequently stated that Germany has a bicameral[?] parliament (with the Bundestag and Bundesrat being the lower and upper houses, respectively), but this is not correct in the sense the term is used with the parliaments of other countries. For one, not all laws require the consent of the Bundesrat, and secondly, the Bundesrat is not elected, but a representation of state governments, and the votes of each Bundesland have to be cast unanimously by direction. Finally, the Bundesrat has no say in the election of the Bundeskanzler, the Chancellor.

The distinction isn't entirely clear cut, however. The United Kindom's House of Lords, which is generally considered to be the upper house of a bicameral parliament, is not theoretically required to assent to any Bill.

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