Baden-Württemberg, Germany, regional Popular or citizens initiative and authorities counter-proposal [PCI+] - Volksbegehren

General Typology

Popular or citizens initiative and authorities counter-proposal [PCI+]
Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Political level
Local Name:
Normative Level:
Legally Binding:
Legally Defined:

Article 25

(1) The State authority emanates from the people. It is exercised by the people in elections and referendums and through special powers of legislation, the executive and the judicial system

Article 26

(3) The exercise of the voting right in elections and referendums is a civic duty.

(5) In the case of referendums it is voted with a Yes or a No vote.

(6) The election or voting day must be a Sunday.

Article 59 

(1) Legislation will be initiated by the Government, members of Parliament or the people by citizens' agenda initiative or by citizens' initiative.
(2)People may request Parliament to deal with objects of the political process within the area of responsibility of the Parliament, also with an elaborated and reasoned draft of law. The Parliament has to deal, if this is provided by at least 0.5 per cent of voters with the agenda initiative. The dissolution of the Parliament is governed by article 43.
(3) The citizens' initiative must be based on an elaborate draft of bill with reasons. The subject of the citizens' initiative can also be a draft of introduced by an agenda initiative according paragraph 2 sentence 2, which the State legislature did not approve unchanged. No referendum will take place on tax laws, salary laws and the State budget act. The citizens' initiative is concluded if at least ten per cent of the voters apply. The citizens' initiative is to submit to the Parliament by the Government without delay with its opinion.
(4) The laws are decided by the Parliament or by referendum.
(5) The further is determined by a law.
The dissolution of the Parliament is governed by article 43.

Article 60
(1) A draft bill, introduced by a citizens' initiative, is to submit to a referendum, if Parliament does not agree with the unchanged bill. In this case Parliament may present an own law draft to the decision of the people.
(2) The Government may submit a law approved by the Parliament to a referendum before its announcement, if one-third of the members of Parliament requested it. The arranged referendum is omitted if the Parliament with two-thirds majority again approves the law.
(3) If one-third of the members of the Parliament's request it, the Government may submit a Bill introduced by Government but rejected by the Parliament to the referendum.
(4) The request under paragraph 2 and paragraph 3 is to provide within two weeks after the final vote. The Government has 10 days after receipt of the request to decide whether it wants to organize the referendum.
(5) In the referendum decides the majority of the valid votes. The law is decided, if at least twenty per cent of the electorate agrees.
(6) On tax laws, salary laws and the State budget law, no referendum will take place. 

Article 64
(1) The Constitution may be amended by law. An amendment must not contradict the principles of the republican, democratic and social rule of law. The State Supreme Court will make the decision whether an amendment is allowed, at the request of the Government or a quarter of the members of the Parliament. (..)
(3) The Constitution can be amended by referendum if more than half of the members of the Parliament requested it. It can be amended by a referendum pursuant to article 60 par. 1. The constitutional law is decided, if the majority of the electorate agrees. (4) Without prior amendment of the Constitution, laws which breach the provisions of the Constitution, may not be adopted.

References: Verfassung des Landes Baden-Württemberg, 1953 (accessed Nov. 4, 2019)

§ 6  Announcement of the day and the subject matter of the referendum

(1) After the determination of the voting day the Government immediately announces the voting day, the subject of the referendum and the content of the ballot in the State Gazette of Baden-Württemberg.

(2) Are Bills or laws subject to the referendum its wording is to announce as well. It is to be send to the voters of the municipalities before the voting day.

§ 8 Official notification to the referendum

(1) The State Government, the other public institutions of the State, the municipalities and associations of municipalities and their public officials, as far as they are neither members of electoral bodies or otherwise immediately involved with the preparation and conduct of the referendum, can express themselves within their areas of competence within the framework of constitutional objectivity bid to a forthcoming referendum and inform the voters about it.

(2) The Government should inform the voters through an official communication from the Ministry of State. The subject of the referendum, in case of bills or laws the specific wording of the act and the decision of the Parliament, include opinions on the subject of the referendum to same extent of the State Parliament, the State Government, in case of a preceding citizens' initiative of the representatives and include sample of the ballot.

The State Legislature takes position as a whole or for groups separately in the extent according to the distribution of seats for the political groups in the Parliament. The State Department sets the scope and the manner of presentation, as well as the time limit for the submission of comments.

The same applies to a draft of law submitted by the Parliament with the vote pursuant to article 60 paragraph 1 sentence 2 of the Constitution of the State. If Opinions are not or not timely presented by the Parliament or from the representatives or both, the Ministry shall present the familiar reasons which speak for or against the Bill or the law, to the same extent. For the text of the draft bill and their opinion, the representatives are responsible; the State Parliament or the political groups in the case of a separate opinion pursuant to sentence 3 and the State Government are each responsible for their templates and opinions. The State press code shall not apply to the official briefing.

(3) The official release is to send by the Ministry directly or through the municipalities, too together with the voting notification to all voters, to be distributed to all households, to publish on the Internet or to make publicly known in the State Gazette of Baden-Württemberg. An official communication sent to the voters along with the notification of voting, requires no separate delivery of the wording of the law according to § 7 paragraph 2 sentence 2. An immediate send out to the voters, the State Ministry to do so receives the address data of the voters of the municipalities from the population register or the voters list. The State Department may use the addresses only to send the official release. Sections 37 and 38 (1) sentence 2 of the Electoral regulation apply to the backup of the address data and the deletion

§ 20 (..)

(3) To be determined is the number of the total electorate, the number of people who voted, the number of valid and invalid votes, as well as the numbers of valid Yes-votes and the valid No-votes. The Country Electoral Committee still determines whether the law brought to a referendum or a bill or the request for dissolution of the Parliament has gained the majority of votes required by the State Constitution and this law.

(4) The result of the vote is to be determined and declared in open court.

Article 22 Result of the referendum on several bills

During a vote on several bills relating to the same subject-matter, if several templates according Art. 60 (5) of the State Constitution required the necessary majority, the law is accepted, which gained the most votes. If the number of votes is equal for several bills, so the law is accepted, that unites the biggest number of Yes-votes after the deduction of the No-votes.

3. Section Citizens' initiative

§ 27 Request for approval of the citizens' initiative 

(1) A citizens' initiative shall require the approval by the Ministry of Interior. It is conducted through the issuance of registration leaves by the representatives of the applicant or persons who are authorized by them to do so (free collection), and the launch of registration lists in the municipalities (official collection).The official collection extends over three months, the free collection of six months. Article 9, paragraph 1 shall apply mutatis mutandis.
(2)The admission is to be requested in written form. It has to be noted in which municipalities registration lists should be applied. Up to the decision on the approval of the request the application can be extended on other municipalities.
(3) If the subject of the referendum is the introduction of a bill, an elaborated and reasoned proposal of law is to add.
(4) The request requires the signatures of at least 10 000 signatories who must be entitled to vote to the State Parliament (Landtag) at the time of the signing. § 37 (1) Numbers 1 bis 3 apply accordingly.
(5) In the application, two representatives have to be named. If no representatives are named, the two first signatories of the application are considered as representatives. Unless otherwise defined in this act, only the representatives, each representative by itself, is entitled to submitt binding statements on the application and to accept explanations of election authorities. The representatives can be recalled by a written declaration of the majority of the signatories of the application to the Ministry of the Interior and replaced by others.
(6) The election and voting regulations determine details.

§ 29 Approval of the citizens' initiative

(1) The Ministry of the Interior has to allow the citizens' initiative, if

1. the application is properly made and

2. in the case of § 27 (3) the bill does not contradict the German Fundamental Law and the State Constitution.

It has to decide on the request within three weeks of its receipt.

(2) Parliament, government and the representatives are to be informed about the decision.

(3) If the application is refused, the representatives of the applicants within two weeks after receipt of the decision can call the State Court. The Ministry of the Interior is party in the law suit within the meaning of § 9 (1) of the law on the State Court.

§ 30 Public notice of approval

(1) If the request is complied with, the Ministry of the Interior shall make the admission of the petition for a referendum in the state gazette for Baden-Württemberg publicly known. At the same time it will inform the municipalities in which the lists of entries will be displayed, as well as the deadlines within which the entry sheets or the entry lists for the citizen initiative can be supported. The free collection may start at the earliest four weeks, not more than six weeks after the public announcement. The official collection may be opened at the same time as the free collection. or start later. It should preferably last two months, but must be completed at the latest a month before the free collection.

§ 36 Registration

(1) The registration must be performed personally and by hand. § 18 (2) sentence 2 applies with the proviso, that the signature of persons who declare that they are unable of writing, is replaced by a declaration to the minutes of the authority.

(2) The registration in a registration sheet or a registration list must include family name, first name, day of birth and address, in case of several residences the main residence as well as the date of registration and in case of a registration in a registration sheet, if the subject of the referendum is the introduction of a bill, containing the confirmation that there was the opportunity to take note of the wording of the draft law and its justification before registration.

References: Gesetz über Volksabstimmung und Volksbegehren (2016) (accessed Nov. 6, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To call a referendum on a draft bill


Decision maker:
Lead of counter proposal:


Number Of Signatures:
Initial phase: 10000; Conclusion: 1/6th of electorate
Available Time:
Official collection: three months, free collection: six months
Turnout Quorum:
Approval Quorum:
Law: Majority, which must correspond 20% of the electorate. Constitutional amendment: Majority of electorate
Geographical Quorum:
Excluded Issues:

On tax laws, salary laws and the State budget law, no referendum will take place.

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
Specify Collection Mode:

Article 32 Registration leaves - Registration lists

(1) The support the referendum happens at the free collection through registration into the registration leaves, as well as their submission at the latest on the last day of the registration period of the free collection in the municipality responsible for the examination of the right to vote, in case of the official collection by registering in the registration lists. If the subject of the citizens' initiative is the introduction of a bill it is to ensure that there is the opportunity to take note of the wording of the law and its justification before registration in the registration leaves or registration lists. The registration must be done within the public announcement made by the Ministry of the Interior according to § 28 para 1 deadlines for registrations in registration leaves or registration lists. Details, form and content of the registration leaves and registration lists, controls the Electoral regulation.

(2) The registration lists are provided by the applicants to the municipalities. The municipalities are obliged publicly to publish the registration lists within the registration time for the signing  of voters, if the registration lists were received properly in time, according to the specificity of the election and voting regulation and to check the registration authorization of the signatories.

References: Gesetz über Volksabstimmung und Volksbegehren (2016) (accessed Nov. 8, 2019

Wording Of Ballot Question:
Interaction With Authorities:

§ 2 Consultation

The applicants interested in a submission, or the representatives can obtain advice about the conditions for admissibility of the application, as well as the legislation to carry out popular agenda initiatives, citizens' initiatives or referendums. The State Parliament is responsible for popular agenda initiatives, the Ministry of the Interior for citizens' initiatives or referendums. The advice is free of charge.

Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

§ 40 Costs of referendum initiative

(1) The costs of the application for authorisation, the free collection, the registration list and, where appropriate, of the sheets the reasoned draft, as well as their respective shipment to the municipalities will be payed by the applicants. The State bears the costs of the decision on the application for authorisation and the costs of establishing the registration result. The municipalities will be reimbursed for costs incurred by the state. § 26 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) If the referendum leads to the dissolution of the Parliament, the cost of objective nature of the admission application, the free collection, the registration list and in case of the parts of the Bill reasoned, as well as their respective shipment shall be reimbursed by the State.



The English language version here is provided as a courtesy. The German language text is the official version.