Brandenburg, 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
Brandenburg, Germany
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Volksbegehren
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Article 2 (Principles of the Constitution)

(4) Legislation shall be exercised through referenda and the Parliament (Landtag).(..)

Article 22 (Elections and referenda)

(2) Upon attaining the age of sixteen every citizen shall have the right to participate in agenda initiatives, citizen's initiatives and referendum, (..)

(3) Elections and referendums shall be general, direct, equal, free and secret. (..)

Article 76 (Agenda initiative) 

(1) All residents shall have the right to submit certain items of political decision-making to the Parliament within the framework of its competence. This agenda initiative may also table bills and motions to dissolve the Parliament. The initiative must be signed by at least twenty thousand residents (..). Their representatives shall have the right to be heard.

(2) Initiatives on the State budget, official emoluments and pensions, taxes and personnel decisions shall not be permitted.

Article 77 (Citizens' initiative) 

(1) Should the Parliament not assent to a draft bill, a motion to dissolve the Parliament or any other bill in accordance with Article 76 within four months, a citizens' initiative shall take place on the demand of the representatives of the agenda initiative.

(2) Should the State Government or one third of the members of the Parliament consider the citizens' initiative to be impermissible, they shall have the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

(3) A citizens' initiative shall be adopted if at least eighty thousand persons entitled to vote agree with it within six months. A motion to dissolve the Parliament shall require the agreement of at least two hundred thousand persons entitled to vote.

Article 78 (Referendum) 

On 1 January 2020, the Seventh Act Amending the Constitution enters into force of the State of Brandenburg of 16 May 2019 (GVBl. I No. 16). Article 78 Paragraph 1 shall then be reworded:
(1) If the state parliament does not comply with the citizens' initiative within three months, there shall be a referendum within another four months. The deadline between the publication of the established result of a citizens' initiative and the referendum shall be extended by the Bureau of the Parliament up to ten months, if the referendum can thereby be carried out together with a nationwide election or other referendum. The Parliament of the State may submit a competing bill or other bill pursuant to Article 76 to a vote. The President of the State Parliament shall publish the reasoned bills or the other bills put to the vote in an appropriate form.

(1) Should the Parliament not comply with the citizens' initiative within two months, a referendum shall take place within a further three months. The Parliament may put a competing draft bill or any other submission in accordance with Article 76 to a vote as well. The President of the Parliament shall publish the draft bills, complete with reasons, or the other submissions to be voted upon, in an adequate format.

(2) A draft bill or any other submission in accordance with Article 76 shall be adopted by referendum if the majority of those persons who have voted, but at least one fourth of those entitled to vote, have given their assent.

(3) For constitutional amendments as well as for motions to dissolve the Parliament, two thirds of those who have voted, but at least one half of those entitled to vote, must have voted for the constitutional amendment or the dissolution of the Parliament. Only the valid yes and no votes shall count.

Article 79 (Amendments to the Constitution)

The Constitution may only be amended by a law that expressly changes or supplements the wording of the Constitution. The assent of a majority of two thirds of the members of the Parliament or a referendum in accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 78 shall be required for this.

References: Constitution of the Land of Brandenburg, 1992 (ccessed Nov. 6, 2019)

Section 3 Citizens' Initiative

§ 13 Request to conduct a citizens' initiative

(1) If the State legislature does not agree to a template within four months after handing over the citizens' initiative at the Parliament, a citizens' initiative is held at the request of the representative of the citizens' initiative. The request to conduct a citizens' initiative is in writing to the President of the Parliament.

(2) The request for a citizens' initiative has to be announced to the Parliament within one month after the announcement of the Parliament decision according to § 12 ABS. 3 or after expiry of the period

(1). The President of the Parliament shall inform the receipt of the notification of the State government.

(3) If the State Government or one-third of the members of Parliament the citizens' initiative call it inadmissible, they have to call the State constitutional court within one month after receipt of the notification.

§ 14 Notice of the citizens' initiative and the registration period 

(1) The State Electoral Officer, immediately after the expiry of the time limit in section 13 (3), discloses the wording of the citizen referendum initiative, the name and address of the representatives and the note, that the referendum can be supported by an entry in the official registration lists or by letter registered on the registration certificates, in the Official Journal for Brandenburg. Sentence 1 shall apply accordingly in the event that the citizens' initiative will be recognised by decision of the Constitutional Court of the State to be admissible.

(2) The State Electoral Manager, in the context of the notice referred to in (1) sets start and end of the period, within which the citizens' initiative can be supported by registration in the official registration lists or by letter registration (registration deadline). The registration period may start at the earliest four, a maximum of eight weeks after the official publication and must last six months.

(3) The election authorities have make publicly known in a local way the subject-matter of the required citizen referendum initiative, the first and last day of the six-month registration period, the places where the official entry list are displayed, the times of day during which registrations can be made, where and in which time registration certificates can be requested and how to support the citizens' initiative by letter and thereby pointing out the requirements of the the right of entry. If the Election authorities determine more offices for the support of the citizens' initiative (Article 17a (1) sentence 2), during the registration period it has to make it known as soon as possible publicly; The publication must not be published in the a local form.

§ 24 Treatment of the citizens' initiative in the Parliament 

(1) Admissible citizens' initiatives must be discussed in the Parliament within two months after the announcement of the results.

(2) If parliament adopts the desired template or the coveted bill unchanged within two months, a vote on the citizens' initiative (referendum) will not be conducted, in accordance with article 78 of the Constitution.

(3) The representatives of the citizens' initiative are entitled to appoint two experts that are summoned by the competent Committee for the hearing.

§ 56 Citizens' initiative

A Citizens' initiative aimed at the dissolution of the Diet shall be concluded if at least two hundred thousand persons entitled to vote have approved the Citizens' initiative within four months. Otherwise, the provisions of §§ 13 to 22 and 24 and 25 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Section 4 Referendum

§ 26 Conditions and subject to the referendum 

(1) If Parliament within two months does not correspond to the permitted citizens' initiative, a referendum will be conducted within another three months.

(2) At the request of the representative, the Parliament can announce the citizens' initiative as settled if it adopts the proposals in the referendum bill in a modified form, but not conflicting with the basic concerns of the request of the people. The decision can be appealed by any representative at the Constitutional Court of the State.

(3) (2) shall apply for any other templates accordingly.

(4) If parliament rejects the bill or the other template according to § 5 of this act to which a permissible citizens' initiative had been conducted, it can submit a competing bill or other template to the vote according to § 5 of this act.

§ 34 Voting day 

(1) If the conditions occurred for the conduct of a referendum, the Bureau of the Parliament has to determine the day of the vote immediately.

(2) The voting day must be a Sunday.

§ 50 Result of the referendum 

(1) A bill or a template according to § 5 of this act is adopted through referendum, if the majority of those who cast their votes, but at least a quarter of the voters eligible to vote, agreed.

(2) If in a simultaneous vote on several draft laws or other templates according to § 5 of this Act, relating to the same subject-matter and are not compatible with one another, twice or several times the requirements pursuant to (1) are given, so the bill or the other template is adopted which received the most Yes-votes.

Section 6 Amendments to the Constitution by the people

§ 60 Agenda initiative, citizens' initiative and referendum.

The provisions in the §§ 4 to 49 and 51 to 54 shall apply accordingly.

§ 61 Result of the referendum

(1) A bill, changing the wording of the Constitution expressly or supplements it, is adopted by referendum, if two-thirds of those who voted, but at least half of the electorate, cast their votes to amend the Constitution by law.

(2) Only the valid Yes-votes, and No-votes count.

Constituent Assembly
§ 62 Requirements for election to a constituent assembly
(1) (..)
2c. in a referendum, two thirds of those who have cast their vote, but at least half of those entitled to vote, shall vote in favour of holding the election to a constituent assembly.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To call a referendum on a issue of a prior agenda initiative, which was rejected by Parliament

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
bill: 80 000; dissolution of Parliament: 200 000
Available Time:
6 months
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
Bill: majority of those persons who have voted, but at least one fourth of electorate; Constituent Assembly/Constitutional amendment: 2/3rd majority but at least one half of electorate
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

State budget, to salaries and pensions, taxes, and personnel decisions are not permitted

Other Formal Requirements:

An agenda initiative must be concluded and rejected by Parliament

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
restricted
Specify Collection Mode:

§ 15 Support of the Citizens' initiative, registration lists, registration certificates
(1) The support of the Citizens' initiative shall take place by entry in the official entry lists or by entry by letter on the registration certificates.
(2) The registration must be carried out in person. Anyone who cannot read or is unable to read because of a physical handicap,to complete the entry in the registration list or the postal entry in person, can rely on the help of a person of his confidence (auxiliary person) The details are governed by the Ordinance on the Procedure for Citizens' initiative.
(3) The head of the state referendum administration shall forward the wording of the bill or the reasoned draft bill as well as the official entry lists, which must clearly indicate the subject of the petition for a referendum, to the relevant referendum authorities no later than one week before the start of the registration period.
(4) The voting authorities shall be obliged to keep the proper entry lists which they have received in good time available within the registration period in the official registration rooms (section 17a subs. 1) and to hand over sufficient official entry lists to the honorary mayors of office, the notaries and other bodies authorised to certify on their request and to examine the right of signatories to register as soon as possible.
(5) Entry in the entry lists may only be permitted once to the person entitled to register has sufficiently identified himself.
(6) A person entitled to register shall, upon request, receive a registration certificate and an envelope from the competent voting authority. The The application shall be made by the person entitled to register himself or by an authorised person; paragraph 2 sentence 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis. The granting of a registration certificate may be requested in writing or orally from the voting authority. The written form shall also be deemed to have been complied with by e-mail, telefax or other documentable transmission in electronic form if the application also contains the date of birth of the applicant. Applications may not be submitted by telephone.
(7) On the registration certificate, the person entitled to register or the auxiliary person shall affirm to the voting authority in lieu of an oath that he or she has made the declaration of support of the petition for a referendum personally or in accordance with the declared will of the person entitled to register.
(8) In the case of registration by letter, the letter containing the registration certificate (registration letter) shall be sent in sufficient time for it to reach the voting authority which issued it by 4 p.m. on the last day of the registration period at the latest.

§ 18 Content of the registration
1. The registration shall contain the surname, forenames, date of birth, place of residence and address or habitual residence of the person entitled to register and the date of signature.
2. A registration may not be withdrawn.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Nov. 6, 2019)

Wording Of Ballot Question:

§ 44 Ballot papers
(3) The contents of the ballot paper shall be determined by the Bureau of the Parliament. It shall be drafted in such a way that the persons entitled to vote can vote "yes" or "no".
(4) If several proposals or bills concerning the same subject matter are to be put to the vote, they shall be listed on a ballot paper. Their order shall depend on the number of valid entries established by the Bureau of the Diet. If the Diet has submitted to the people a competing bill or another bill pursuant to § 5 of this Act, this bill shall be cited before the bills submitted with petitions for a referendum or other bills pursuant to § 5 of this Act.
(5) In order to facilitate the casting and counting of votes, voting machines may be used instead of ballot papers and ballot boxes in accordance with paragraph 6, provided that it is ensured that they do not falsify the result of the vote and that they preserve the secrecy of the vote.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed No. 6, 2019)

Interaction With Authorities:
Supervision And Support:

§ 36 Information on the referendum 
(1) No later than six weeks before the Voting Day, the President of the Parliament shall publish on the website of the Parliament the text of the draft law or of the other bill in accordance with § 5 of this Act, if necessary with a justification. A competing bill put to a vote by Parliament or another competing bill pursuant to § 26 paragraph 4 shall be published in the same manner. 
(2) The President of the Parliament shall give the representatives of the Citizens' Initiative, the Government of the State and the Parliament of the State an opportunity to express their views to the same extent on the subject of the referendum and to present their main arguments. The President shall determine the framework for the scope and type of presentation. In its statement, the Parliament shall also reflect the opinion of the minority. 
(3) Each person entitled to vote shall receive a notification of the referendum from the President together with the notification pursuant to § 37 paragraph 2. It shall contain the information referred to in paragraph 1 and the opinions referred to in paragraph 2.

Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

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