Berlin, Germany, regional Popular or citizens initiative [PCI] - Volksbegehren [Auflösung des Parlaments]

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative [PCI]
Location
Berlin, Germany
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Volksbegehren [Auflösung des Parlaments]
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Article 62

(6) A citizens' initiative may also be directed at the premature termination of the legislative period of the House of Representatives.

Article 63

(3) A referendum directed at the premature termination of the legislative period of the House of Representatives requires as proof of support the signatures of at least 50,000 people entitled to vote in elections for the House of Representatives. A referendum must be held if at least one-fifth of the people entitled to vote in House of Representatives elections agree to the initiative within four months. The referendum shall become effective only if at least half of those entitled to vote cast their votes, with a majority in favour of early termination.

(4) Details concerning citizens' initiative and relating to referenda, including the publication of the proposal on which the referendum is based, shall be the subject of a law.

References: The Constitution of Berlin, 1995 (accessed Nov 6, 2019))

§ 12 Inadmissibility of a citizens' initiative

(3) A petition for citizens' initiative to the premature termination of the term of the House of representatives are not allowed, if the request for initiation is made later than 46 months after commencement of the election period.

§ 29 Causing a referendum 

(3) The referendum on the early termination of the term is omitted if the House of representatives decides the premature termination of the term itself.

§ 26 Conclusion of the citizens' initiative 

(2) (..) and a citizens' initiative for the premature termination of the term of the House of Representatives is successful if at least one-fifth of the electorate supported it.

(3) As number of voters the number of voters on the last day of the registration period is valid.

§ 36 The referendum result

(4) A referendum on the early termination of the term of the House of representatives is adopted, if at least half of the electorate agrees and receives the majority of the votes for the premature termination.

(5) If the referendum is conducted along with elections or other referendums, it is to ensure that voters can cast their vote regardless of the votes for the elections or other referendums. The participation in the referendum will be determined separately based on the votes cast.

References: Gesetz über Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1997 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To call a referendum on the early termination of the term of Parliament

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Initial: 50000; Conclusion: 1/5th of electorate
Available Time:
Initial: 6 months; Conclusion: 4 months
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
Majority, but at least half of the electorate agrees
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

One-topic PCI

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

§ 15 Collection of signatures
(1) At the written request of the Owner to the Senate Administration responsible for Home Affairs, the competent Senate Administration shall, before the collection of signatures begins, immediately prepare the estimated costs which would result from the realisation of the petition for a referendum (official cost estimate). In order to prove support, an application to initiate a petition for a referendum shall require the signature of at least 20 000 persons entitled to vote at the time of signing the petition to the Berlin House of Representatives, or, in the case of a petition to amend the Constitution of Berlin or to prematurely terminate the term of office of the Berlin House of Representatives, the signature of at least 50 000 persons entitled to vote at the time of signing the petition to the Berlin House of Representatives. The signature must have been executed within the last six months before receipt of the application by the Senate Administration responsible for the Interior. Each signature must be placed on a signature list or a a separate signature sheet preceded by the text of the original or its essential content in summary form, including the official cost estimate. The wearer may put its own cost estimate before the official cost estimate.
(2) In addition to the handwritten signature, the following data of the signatory person must be indicated in handwriting:
1. surname,
2. first name,
3. date of birth,
4. address of the sole residence or main residence
5. day of signature.
(3) If the handwritten indication of the date of birth is missing or if it is incomplete, erroneous or illegible, the signature shall be deemed invalid. The signature shall also be deemed invalid if the person cannot be identified beyond doubt on the basis of the entries or if it cannot be established beyond doubt whether the signature was executed on time or if the person signing is entitled to participate on the day on which the signature was executed. If the entries contain additions or reservations, if they are not handwritten, if they are not made in due time, or if they were sent by fax or electronically, the signature shall also be deemed invalid.
(4) The responsible body shall use the models prescribed in the voting regulations for the signature lists and forms and shall procure them at its own expense.
(5) A person who is willing to support the person and cannot write declares his or her support to be recorded in the district office.
(6) As proof of voting rights, persons who are not entered in a register of residents of the Federal Republic of Germany or who have not been registered in Berlin for three months prior to the date of signing must sign in the District Office and affirm by affirmation in lieu of an oath that they have spent most of the last three months in Berlin..

Article 23 Request of signature lists and sheets for use outside official public registration offices

(1) On request, the organizing institution of the citizens' initiative receives from the State Electoral officer the official signature lists and sheets for the use outside official registration offices to an appropriate number.

(2) Any person eligible to vote can request the official signature sheet at the district office. It is to ensure that there is an electronic retrieval facility possible.

(3) The signature lists and sheets are to be submited to the District Office at the end of the registration period.

§ 26 Conclusion of the citizens' initiative

(1) A citizens' initiative directed towards the adoption of a law, or to make any other decision, is successful if at least seven of one hundred of the electorate has approved it.

(2) A citizens' initiative directed towards amending the Constitution of Berlin and a citizen initiative for the premature termination of the term of the House of Representatives is successful if at least one-fifth of the electorate supported it.

(3) As number of voters the number of voters on the last day of the registration period is valid.

References: Gesetz über Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1997 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019)

Wording Of Ballot Question:
Interaction With Authorities:

§ 40 a Right of advice 

The organizing institution of an agenda initiative or a citizens' initiative can consult the responsible Government Interior Administration with regard to the formal and substantive conditions of admissibility of the application and the legal provisions for the implementation of the project.

Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

§ 40b Notification of individual donations
(1) Donations of money or goods exceeding a total value of 5,000 euros shall be reported immediately to the Senate Administration responsible for Home Affairs, stating the name and address of the donor and the total amount of the donations. For donations in kind, the usual market price shall apply.
(2) The persons in a position of trust affirm in lieu of an oath with the application for the treatment of a popular initiative pursuant to § 4, the application for the initiation of a petition for a referendum pursuant to § 14, the request for the execution of a petition for a referendum pursuant to § 18 and 15 days before the date of the vote of a referendum, that the duty of disclosure has been fully and correctly complied with.
(3) The monetary donations shall be administered separately by the wearer in an account stating the donor and the amount donated. Donations in kind shall be recorded in a record showing the donor, the object of the donation and the market value. The Senate Administration responsible for Internal Affairs may, if there are actual indications of an incomplete notification pursuant to paragraph 1, order the bearer to submit documents on donations and authorise its account-holding financial institution to provide the Senate Administration responsible for Internal Affairs with information on the individual donations as well as the names and addresses of the donors. The order may be enforced by way of administrative execution.
(4) The Senate Administration responsible for Home Affairs shall publish the information referred to in subsection 1 continuously in the Official Gazette for Berlin and forward it to the Head of the State Voting, who shall also publish the information on the Internet.

§ 40 c. Donations ban

A organizing institution of an agenda initiative or a citizens' initiative may take no money or in-kind donations of

1. groups and parliamentary groups in the Parliaments, municipal representations and District Parliaments,

2. companies that are totally or partially publicly owned or managed publicly or operated and the direct participation of the public sector does not exceed 25%.

If a political party is the organizing institution of an agenda initiative or a citizens' initiative, § 25 paragraph 2 of the law on political parties, as amended by the notice of January 31, 1994 shall apply for the organizing institution (BGBl. I p. 149), most recently amended by article 5a of the Act of September 24, 2009 (BGBl. I S. 3145) accordingly.

References: Gesetz über Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1997 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019))

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

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