Germany has long been one of the most powerful and influential countries in Europe, the trend continuing with the way that it has reinvented itself in recent decades as the leading actor in the European Union, and a key player in the global economy. It remains something of a reluctant power, however, with many Germans unwilling to see their country assert itself too obviously, preferring instead to focus on domestic matters. It has been successful in building a stable and workable political system whose achievements stand in contrast to the tumult of its earlier experience with democracy under the Weimar Republic. At the same time, it has seen troubling changes in recent years with the combined effects of falling voter turnout at elections, a move away from the once predictable dominance of two major political parties, widespread dismay arising from the arrival of new waves of immigrants, and concerns about falling population numbers.
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