Balzers, Liechtenstein, local Popular or citizens initiative [PCI] - Initiative

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative [PCI]
Location
9496 Balzers, Liechtenstein
Political level
local
Local Name:
Initiative
Normative Level:
statutory
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

The Community Law of the Principality of Liechtenstein 

(Gemeindegesetz vom 20. März 1996, version of 29.04.2020)



IV. Organization

A. Community Assembly

1. General

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Art. 25

Position, duties and powers

1) The community assembly is the highest organ of the community. 

2) The community assembly has the following tasks and competences: 

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n) Deciding upon referenda (Art. 41) and initiatives (Art. 42).

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Art. 26

Resolutions

In all cases where this or another law provides for the calling or holding of a community meeting or a decision by the community citizens residing in the community, the community council can order a ballot instead.


2. Assembly


Art. 29

Chair

1) The community leader presides and leads the negotiations. If he is prevented from doing so, his deputy will represent him and, if he is unable to attend, the oldest member of the community council chairs the assembly. 

2) The chairman checks the eligibility to vote and the number of people present. He ensures the maintenance of peace and order.


Art. 30

Chair

Public The community meeting is open to the public. The chairman can prohibit the participation of persons not entitled to vote for important reasons.


Art. 31

Motions, votes 

1) Anyone entitled to vote can request the floor on the business being dealt with and submit a motion on the matter or the rules of procedure. 

2) Votes are carried out openly unless at least one eighth of the voters present or fifteen of the voters present demand a secret ballot. A simple majority of the valid votes is sufficient for a vote to be valid, unless otherwise stipulated by law. 

3) Elections are secret. A relative majority of votes is sufficient for the validity of elections, unless otherwise stipulated by law.

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Art. 34

Resolutions

1) The community assembly has a quorum if one sixth of the voters are present. If this quorum is not achieved, a second municipal meeting must be called within six weeks, which acts regardless of the quorum.

2) The resolutions are passed by a simple majority of the voters. In the event of a tie, the motion for which the chairman votes, is accepted.

3) The resolutions become legally valid upon acceptance by those entitled to vote. If the resolutions require the approval of the government, they become legally valid upon publication.

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B. Community Council

3. Votes by Ballot

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Art. 37

In the urn, the voters decide according to the same provisions as apply to state affairs, whereby a legally valid decision is made when one-sixth of the voters takes part in the vote.

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Art. 41

Referendum

1) One sixth of those entitled to vote can request the treatment of resolutions by the municipal council at the municipal assembly by means of a substantiated written request if they exceed the maximum amount set in the municipal ordinance, which may range from 100,000 francs to 300,000 francs. These resolutions include: 

a) the purchase of land; 

b) the construction of community facilities and structures; 

c) the taking out of loans or the assumption of guarantees; 

d) the approval of new one-time and annual expenses; 

e) the approval of commitment and supplementary credits.

2) Regardless of the maximum amount stipulated in the municipal regulations, the following resolutions of the municipal council can be put to a referendum: 

a) the determination of the budget plan and the municipal tax surcharge; 

b) the approval of the municipal accounting and discharge of the organs; 

c) the enactment of zoning and building regulations; 

d) the initiation of a zoning plan and building land; 

e) the initiation of Levies; 

f) the sale and exchange of land

g) the appointment of independent building rights for a period of more than ten years. 

3) Requests for a referendum must be submitted to the community council president no later than 14 days after the decision has been announced. The deadline for submitting the required signatures is one month from the announcement of the resolution. 

4) Resolutions of the municipal council that are eligible for a referendum must be announced. 

5) A community meeting must take place within four months after the referendum request has been submitted. With the exception of the quorum, the procedure is based on the provisions that apply to the handling of items that fall within the jurisdiction of the municipal assembly.


Art. 42

Initiative

1) One sixth of those entitled to vote can, in the manner described in Art. 41, request that matters that are subject to a referendum be dealt with in the municipal assembly. 

2) The initiative is excluded in matters in which the referendum period according to Art. 41 Paragraph 3 has expired without being used or in which a referendum has come about. In the case of building regulations and zoning plans, as well as other municipal council resolutions of a general abstract nature, the initiative is permitted at the earliest two years after the resolution was passed.


Art. 43

Review of initiatives and referendums

The local council immediately reviews whether the formal and material requirements of an initiative or referendum request have been met. He rejects a request within one month if it is obviously illegal or relates to an item that falls within the jurisdiction of another municipal authority (subject to Art. 42) or a state authority.



The Community Statue of the Community of Balzers 

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Art. 11

Referendum against local council resolutions

1) The following resolutions by the municipal council are subject to a referendum:

a) the determination of the budget and the municipal tax surcharge;

b) the approval of the municipal accounts and Discharge of the organs;

c) the issuing of zoning plans and municipal building regulations;

d) the initiation of a reallocation of building land;

e) the collection of levies;

f) the sale and exchange of land; g) the order of independent building rights for a duration of more than ten years;

h) the purchase of land;

i) the erection of community facilities and structures;

k) taking out loans or taking over of guarantees;

l) the approval of new one-time and annually recurring expenses;

m) the approval of supplementary and commitment credits;

n) the establishment of communal institutions;

o) joining or leaving special-purpose associations.

2) Municipal council resolutions on topics of Para. 1 let. h, i, k, l and m are only subject to the referendum if they exceed the amount of CHF 100.000.


Subject Matter:

According to the national community law, legislative proposals can be submitted via an initiative that relate to the topics that have also been approved for the referendum (Art. 41). But there are some restrictions. The main limitation is that the initiatives cannot change issues that have already been politically decided. Specifically, the law states that topics that have been approved by the local council and against which the referendum has NOT been started are also excluded from the initiative. The aim here is that decisions made once, either with a referendum or by one's own, cannot be reversed. However, this regulation should be understood in such a way that it relates to specific aspects. Example: If a certain area was approved as building land and this decision was rejected or confirmed in the referendum or NO referendum was held, no initiative can be started that has anything to do with this decision on building land. This does not mean that there cannot be OTHER initiatives on the subject of building land. A second restriction provides that there is a moratorium of two years on decisions by the municipality on building regulations and zoning plans. Here the regulation is not as strict as before, as the exclusion is limited to two years. 

In the municipal regulations of Balzers, the subject areas of the referendum and thus also of the initiative are listed. 

Actors

Author:
People
Initiator:
People
Decision maker:
People

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
1/6 of electorate
Available Time:
1 Month
Turnout Quorum:
1/6 of electorate
Approval Quorum:
Geographical Quorum:
Excluded Issues:
Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
Specify Collection Mode:
Wording Of Ballot Question:
Interaction With Authorities:
Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

The law initiative represents a strong right of launching and deciding on policy questions for citizens in the communities in Liechtenstein. One sixth of the electorate is entitled to launch an initiative. In terms of the navigator's typology, the instrument in question thus corresponds to a bottom-up "citizen-initiated referendum". The regulation of the initiative in the municipal law is rather short and refers mainly to the regulations on the referendum (see Art. 41 and specific community statutes) and the community assembly (as way of deciding). 

The decision on an initiative is again the responsibility of the municipal assembly as the highest organ of the community. Similar to the mandatory referendum and the referendum, the actual decision on an initiative can be made directly in the municipal assembly or by a ballot. The municipal council decides which procedure is used. In both cases, for the validity of the decision a participation quorum of 1/6 of the electorate is prescribed.