Anti-immigration violence increased amid the crisis, with the Ministry of the Interior recording a sharp rise in attacks on refugee shelters during the year.
In July, the investigative journalism website reported that two of its journalists were under investigation for treason for the publication of articles that contained classified state information. Electoral Process: 12 / 12 The German constitution provides for a lower house of parliament, the Bundestag (Federal Assembly), as well as an upper house, the Bundesrat (Federal Council), which represents the country’s 16 federal states.
The Constitutional Court had ruled against indiscriminate data retention in 2010, as did the European Court of Human Rights in 2014. Freedom of Expression and Belief: 15 / 16 Freedom of expression is enshrined in the constitution, and the media are largely free and independent.
Supporters of the 2015 legislation framed it as a compromise, noting that it limits the types of information that can be stored as well as the duration of storage. Hate speech, such as racist agitation or anti-Semitism, is punishable by law.
The dominant political parties have traditionally been the SPD and the CDU-CSU.
The influence of Germany’s extreme-right party, the National Democratic Party (NPD)—an anti-immigration, anti-European Union (EU) party that has been accused of glorifying Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich—has been on the decline, but support for the Af D has grown in recent years.
The 2013 federal elections resulted in the first black members of the Bundestag, with one each from the CDU and the SPD.
The CDU also saw its first Muslim deputy elected to the Bundestag.
The center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) took 193 seats, and the Greens won 63. The right-wing, Euroskeptic party Alternative for Germany (Af D) failed to qualify for seats.
The SPD had previously ruled out governing with the Left, which is widely viewed as a successor to the East German communists.