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

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative and authorities counter-proposal [PCI+]
Location
Bavaria, Germany
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Volksbegehren
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Art. 2 

(1) Bavaria is a republic. The state authority shall emanate from the people.

(2) The people shall express their will through elections and referendums. The majority votes shall be decisive.

Art. 5 

(1) The legislative power shall be the exclusive prerogative of the people and the parliament.

Art. 7 

(2) Citizens shall exercise their rights by participating in elections, local citizens' initiatives and local referendums as well as state-wide citizens' initiatives and state-wide referendums.

(3) Exercising these rights may be made dependent on residence of up to one year.

Art. 71 

The bills shall be introduced by the Prime Minister in the name of the State Government, from members of the Bavarian State Parliament or the people (citizens' initiative for a state-wide referendum).

Art. 72 

(1) The laws shall be passed by the Bavarian State Parliament or the people (state-wide referendum).

Art. 73

No referendums shall be held on the state budget.

Art. 74 

(1) A state-wide referendum must be brought about if one tenth of the citizens entitled to vote call for the creation of a law.

(2) The state-wide referendum must be based on a detailed and substantiated bill.

(3) The state-wide referendum must be submitted to the Bavarian State Parliament by the Prime Minister in the name of the State Government, stating its opinion.

(4) If the Bavarian State Parliament rejects the state-wide referendum, it may present its own bill to be decided on by the people.

(5) Valid citizens' initiatives must be dealt with by the Bavarian State Parliament within three months after their submission and must be presented to the people for decision within another three months. The expiry of these periods shall be suspended by the dissolution of the Bavarian State Parliament.

(6) The state-wide referendums on citizens' initiatives shall usually be held in spring or autumn.

(7) Any bill presented to the people for decision must be accompanied by an instruction of the State Government which should present in a succinct and factual manner the reasons stated by the proposers of the bill and the opinion of the State Government in this matter.

Art. 75 

(1) The Constitution can only be changed by way of legislation. Motions for changes of the Constitution which are opposed to the fundamental ideas of democracy of the Constitution shall be inadmissible.

(2) Resolutions of the Bavarian State Parliament for a change of the Constitution shall require a majority of two thirds of its members. They must be presented to the people for decision.

(3) The Bavarian Constitutional Court shall rule on disputes as to whether the Constitution should be changed by a law or whether a motion aims for an inadmissible change of the Constitution.

(4) Changes of the Constitution must be included in the wording of the Constitution or in an annex.

References: Constitution of the Republic („Freistaat“) of Bavaria, 1998, (accessed Nov. 6. 2019)

Article 62 Popular legislation

(1) The people exercises the direct right of legislation by submitting draft legislation for a referendum and the vote over laws in referendums.

(2) On the State budget there will be no referendum (Art. 73 of the Constitution). Similarly, citizens' initiatives and referendums on constitutional amendments which contradict the democratic principle of the Constitution, are not permitted.

Article 63 Application for approval

(1) The request for approval of a citizen initiative must be addressed in written form to the Ministry of the Interior, Construction and Transport. The elaborate, reasoned bill, the subject of the referendum, shall be included. The application requires the signatures of 25 000 voters; the signatories' right to vote must be demonstrated when the application for admission is submitted. This must be provided at the time of signing and must be proven when submitting the application for admission. The proof must not be older than two years at the time the application for admission is submitted.

(2) With the application for authorisation a representative and a deputy shall be appointed. The representative and the deputy are on their own entitled to issue binding declarations to the request and to receive them; in case of doubt, the statement of the representative applies. In case of resignation of the representative or the deputy, in addition at least three more deputies are to be designated in the application for approval.

Article 65 Notice of the citizens' initiative and the registration period

(1) If granted approval, so the Ministry of Interior (..) makes known about the citizen initiative in the legally prescribed form and sets the beginning and end of the period, during which the registrations for the initiative can be made (registration deadline).

(2) No later than six weeks after the receipt of the complete application for approval at the Ministry of Interior (..) the publication has to be made, in the case of article 64 four weeks after the announcement of the approval decision of the Constitutional Court about the application.

(3) The registration period is 14 days. It starts as earliest 8 weeks, no later than twelve weeks after the publication in the State Gazette. If the registration lists for reasons which the applicants are not responsible for, or not properly held ready during the whole registration period for the registration of the signing statement, the Ministry of Interior (..) will extend the registration deadline generally or for individual municipalities accordingly.

Article 71 Determination of the result of the citizens'  initiative

(1) The State Electoral Committee determines the result of the citizen initiative. It is not bound by the opinion of the Municipality or of the County Office on the validity of the registrations.

(2) For the validity of the citizen initiative, it is necessary that the request creating a law has been made by at least one-tenth of the electorate.

(3) The State Electoral Officer publishes the result of the citizen initiative, set by the State Electoral Committee.

Article 72 Template of the referendum at the Parliament 

(1) The Prime Minister has to submit a legally binding citizen initiative within four weeks in the name of the State Government and presenting its opinion to the Parliament.

(2) In the cases of article 73 (2), the Prime Minister has to submit all citizen initiatives together to the Parliament; the time limit of (1) starts in this case with the determination of the result of the citizen initiative last discussed by the State Electoral Committee.

Article 73 Treatment of the citizens' initiative in the Parliament

(1) Legally binding citizen initiatives are to be discussed in the Parliament within three months after submission and to present it to the people for decision - subject to (3) - within a further three months. Within the expiry of the periods during a prorogation of the Parliament, the President has to convene the Parliament to an extraordinary meeting.

(2) Several legally binding citizen initiatives concerning the same subject matter, be jointly handled by the State legislature and together presented to the people to decide. The term in the sense of sentence 1 covers the period from the receipt of the registration application at the Ministry of Interior (..) (art. 63 para 1 sentence 1) up to the determination of the result of the citizen initiative by the State Electoral Committee (Art. 71 par. 1 sentence 1).

(3) If the Parliament accepts the coveted bill unchanged, a referendum will not be conducted, subject to the provision of article 75 (2) of the Constitution.

(4) If the Parliament rejects the Bill proposals in the citizen initiative, it can present it with an own bill to the decision of the people.

(5) If by the Parliament the legal validity of the citizen initiative is disputed, thereon the decision must be made publicly known through the Ministry of the Interior, Construction and Transport. (..)

Article 74 Cost

Applicants bear the cost of producing the registration lists and their dispatch to the municipalities and the county offices. The cost of determining the outcome of the citizen initiative will be covered by the State, the municipalities will be charged with the other costs.

Article 79 The referendum result 

(1) A bill obtains the required approval by referendum, if

1. it receives more valid Yes-votes than No-votes and

2. in the case that the bill involves a constitutional amendment, these votes correspond to at least 25 per cent of the electorate (quorum); if the draft law includes both a constitutional amendment and the creation or the modification of an ordinary law, it will be subject to the quorum altogether.

(2) If an ordinary bill is submitted for the vote, it is accepted by referendum when it gets the required approval (paragraph1).

(3) If in case of Art. 76 (4) one of several bills gets the necessary consent (paragraph 1), this Bill is adopted. If two or more bills reached the required approval (paragraph 1), the Bill is adopted which in the tie-break question (Art. 76 para 4 sentence 2) gets the majority of valid votes.

If two or more bills have the same number of valid votes, the one is accepted, which brings together the largest number of Yes-votes after deduction of the No-votes against it. In case of a tie as well between two or more bills, so it will be a vote on these bills again.

References: Gesetz über Landtagswahl, Volksbegehren, Volksentscheid und Volksbefragung, 2002, (accessed No.6, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To call a referendum on a draft bill or amendment of the constitution

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate
Lead of counter proposal:
Parliament

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Application: 25000; Conclusion: 1/10th of electorate
Available Time:
14 days
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
Law: Majority of valid votes; Constitutional amendment: Majority of valid votes, at least corresponding 25% of the electorate. If two or more bills reached the required approval (paragraph 1), the Bill is adopted which in the tie-breaker question (Art. 76 para 4 sentence 2) gets the majority of valid votes. If two or more bills have the same number of valid votes, the one is accepted, which brings together the largest number of Yes-votes after deduction of the No-votes against it. In case of a tie as well between two or more bills, there will be a vote on these bills again.
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

State budget; issues contradicting the democratic principles of the constitution

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
restricted
Specify Collection Mode:

Article 68 Public display of the registration lists

(1) The signatories of the application have to submit the required number of proper registration lists to the municipalities which are not assigned to a county, to the seat of the county administration for municipalities assigned to a county, no later than two weeks before the start of the registration period against proof of receipt of the county offices. It shall include the full content of the citizen initiative.

(2) The municipalities are obliged to provide the registration lists for the duration of the registration deadline for the registration of the signed declaration. The registration areas and hours are to be determined so that any voter finds ample opportunity to participate in the citizen initiative.

Article 70 Invalid registrations

(1) Registrations are not valid if

1. they do not contain a handwritten signature,

2. it do not clearly identify the person who did register,

3. the registered person is not entitled to vote,

4. are not signed on proper registration lists,

5. are not made in time,

6. are made outside of the official registration rooms,

7. the certificate of registration is invalid, the statement of in support of the citizen initiative or the insurance in lieu of oath

is not signed.

(2) multiple registrations of a person are considered as one registration.

(3) The registration made by a helping person in accordance with article 69 paragraph 3 is not ineffective, if the voting person before registration has died or moved away from the voting area or otherwise lost the right to vote.

References: Gesetz über Landtagswahl, Volksbegehren, Volksentscheid und Volksbefragung, 2002, (accessed Nov. 9, 2019)

Wording Of Ballot Question:

Yes/No-question

Interaction With Authorities:
Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

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