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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.

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

The free[1] 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.[2]

The concept of the liberal democratic basic order has been and is being rejected by parts of the left spectrum, the Antifa as well as people on the extreme right.[citation needed]

Parties as well as groups can be banned if they strive to abolish the FDGO, which has been done so successfully in regard to the Communist Party (1956) and the Socialist Reich Party (1952). In 2003 as well as in 2017, attempts to ban the National Democratic Party (NPD) failed. The willingness of a democracy to ban parties that endanger democracy itself has been termed "militant democracy", or "wehrhafte Demokratie" in German.


  • Donald P. Kommers (1980): The Jurisprudence of Free Speech in the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. In: Scholarly Works. Notre Dame Law School.
  • Fisher, H.D. (1996). German legal system and legal language: a general survey together with notes and a German vocabulary. Cavendish Pub. pp. 9 ff. ISBN 978-1-85941-229-9. Retrieved 5 October 2018.


  1. ^ The German original says "freiheitlich", not "frei". See also liberalism and
  2. ^ Kommers (1980), p. 680.