Hamburg, Germany, regional Popular or citizens initiative [PCI] - Gegenvorlage zum Bürgerschaftsreferendum

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative [PCI]
Location
Hamburg, Germany
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Gegenvorlage zum Bürgerschaftsreferendum
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

 Article 50 

(4b) Parliament, on recommendation of the Government or with its consent, can submit a bill or other template of fundamental and overall urban significance to the referendum (Parliament plebiscite). Decisions of Parliament pursuant to sentence 1 shall require a majority of two thirds of the statutory number of members.

Two thirds of the members of Parliament may pursuant to sentence 1 initiate a request. Parliament shall act on a recommendation by the Government with a majority of two thirds of the legal number of members about the date of the Parliament plebiscite.

At the time of decision making of the Parliament according sentence 1 a citizens' initiative supported by the required number of signatures to the same subject matter is on the request of the initiators of the citizens' initiative to be attached to the bill for the referendum or the other template as counter proposal. The same applies to the date of adoption of the Parliament pursuant to sentence 1 about a successful agenda initiative, if it is supported in the framework of a collection of signatures between 14 and 35 days after the decision of the Parliament pursuant to sentence 1, by one-twentieth of the electorate. The draft law, the other template, or the counter template is adopted, when it is supported by the majorities mentioned in paragraph 3 sentences 10 to 13. A constitutional amendment voted on another day than the election day to Parliament or to the German Bundestag, it is accepted, if two-thirds of those voting and at least half of the electorate agrees. Laws and decisions on other templates, which are established by a Parliament plebiscite, may within the current term of Parliament, but at least for a period of three years, not be amended by an agenda initiative, citizens' initiative, and a referendum.

Referendum procedures to the same subject-matter, which are not added as a counter proposal, rest until the end of the period pursuant to sentence 9. In addition, paragraphs 4 and 4a shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(5) During a period of three months before a general election in Hamburg no citizens' initiatives and referenda are conducted.

(6) The Hamburg Constitutional Court decides at the request of the Government, Parliament, one-fifth of the deputies, or of the initiators of the citizens' initiative on the conduct of a citizens' initiative, referendum and

Parliament plebiscite. citizens' initiative and referendum rest during the procedure.

(7) The law determines the further. It can also determine periods where the periods referred to in (2) sentence 4, (3) sentence 3 and (4b) sentence 6 will not run due to recess of Parliament or according a decision of the Parliament on a proposal of the initiators of the citizens' initiative.

References: Verfassung der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, 1952, (accessed Dec. 3, 2019)

§ 25 h Referendum initiated by Parliament

(1) If Parliament, on a proposal from the Government or with the consent according article 50 paragraph 4b sentence 1 of the constitution decided to submit a draft bill or another template to a referendum (Parliament plebiscite), the provisions of this section shall apply.

(2) Government or Parliament will have to inform the public about this intention at an early stage, at least six months prior to a decision pursuant to paragraph 1, in an appropriate manner about the plan to initiate a Parliament plebiscite or to conduct it, in order to promote the formation of an opinion about the subject of the vote and to add a counter template. Government and Parliament ensure a neutral question and a fair procedure design of the Parliament plebiscite;

The parliamentary procedure avoids to shorten deadlines.

§ 25j Counter template 

(1) To the draft bill or the other template (Parliament template) for the plebiscite initiated by Parliament, on the request of the initiators a draft bill or other template of a successful agenda initiative or citizens' initiative, according to § 5 paragraph 2, initiated by them, shall be added as counter template if this draft bill or this other template concerns about the same subject and is supported by at least one-§ 30 a Reimbursement of costs twentieth of the voters eligible to vote for Parliament. The basis will be the number of voters from the previous state election.

(2) The request referred to in paragraph 1 sentence 1 must be submitted in written form at the Government until the 14th day after the decision of the Parliament according to § 25h paragraph 1.

(3) An application referred to in paragraph 1 sentence 1 is on time, the initiators of a concluded agenda initiative can collect within 21 days the required number of signatures to support their counter template referred to in paragraph 1; § 4 shall apply accordingly.

If a day of the period pursuant to sentence 1 is during recess of Parliament due to public school holidays, the period starts on the following day of the last day of the recess of Parliament. The supporting signatures must be submitted on the day following the end of the collection period until noon at the State Electoral Board.

(4) Paragraph 3 shall not apply to citizens' initiatives, which are concluded and established (§ 16 paragraph 1) or whose registration period (§ 6 paragraph 2) is during the period between the 7th day before and ends the 35 day after the resolution of Parliament according to § 25 h paragraph 1.

(5) The Government, within 30 days after the end of the collection period pursuant to paragraph 3 sentence 1 determines whether the requested counter template is to be added. The statement is to deliver without delay to a representative of the agenda initiative and to inform the Parliament.

§ 25 l Applicability of the provisions of the Fourth Section 

(1) § 20, § 21, paragraphs 1, 3 and 4, § 22, §23a and §24 apply accordingly.

(2) § 21, paragraph 2 is to apply with the provison that a counter template on the ballot is listed after the bill or the other template; In case of several other templates, the order of listing depends on the date of submission according §25j, paragraph 2.

(3) § 23 shall apply mutatis mutandis unless otherwise determined below. If a Parliament plebiscite does not take place on the day of an election to the German Federal Parliament, or to Parliament, the Parliament template or a counter template is accepted, if in case of a law changing the Constitution a majority of two-thirds of those voting and at least half of eligible voters agree.

§ 25i Day of voting

Parliament determines the day of the vote on a proposal of the Government. The decision requires a majority of two-thirds of the statutory number of members and must coincide in time with the decision according to § 25 paragraph 1 h. In determining the voting day is to take as a basis that, taking postal voting into account, a possible high voting turnout can be expected and that a reasonable period for the formation of opinion about the subject of the vote and the adding of a counter template is provided. This period must be at least four months starting with the decision according §25h paragraph 1.

References: Hamburgisches Gesetz über Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid (Volksabstimmungsgesetz - VAbstG), 1996, (accessed Dec. 3, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To add a citizens' counter proposal to a plebiscite question introduced by parliament

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Min.: concluded agenda initiative (10000) - Final for later counterproposal: 1/20 of electorate
Available Time:
21 days
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
-> If the referendum does not take place on the day of the election to Parliament or to the German Federal Parliament, it is accepted if the majority of votes and at least one-fifth of eligible voters agree. -> Referendum on election day - State Parliament or German Federal Parliament: majority of the valid votes and at least corresponds to the majority of the Hamburg votes represented in the elected Parliament at the same time; Constitutional amendments and amendments on the Electoral Code of the State Parliament of Hamburg, or to the District Assemblies require a majority of two-thirds of the valid votes and at the same time at least two-thirds of the Hamburg votes represented in the election to Parliament(s). If in a simultaneous vote on the same subject on several bills or several other templates not only one bill or one other template receives more valid Yes-votes as No-votes, so the bill or the other template is adopted, which receives the biggest number of votes. If the number of valid votes is equal for several bills or several other templates, the one is accepted which receives after the substraction of the No-votes the biggest number of Yes-votes. --> If a Parliament plebiscite does not take place on the day of an election to the German Federal Parliament, or to Parliament, the Parliament template or a counter template is accepted, if in case of a law changing the Constitution a majority of two-thirds of those voting and at least half of eligible voters agree.
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

Has to be the same subject matter like the planned plebiscite

Other Formal Requirements:

§ 25 m

Lock-up period and rest of referendum procedures

(1) Within the current term of Parliament, but at least for a period of three years after the finding of the Government pursuant to § 25 l in conjunction with § 23 paragraph 6, the request of the collection of signatures for an agenda initiative (§ 3 paragraph 1) on the same subject of law adopted by Parliament plebiscite, or another template adopted by Parliament plebiscite is invalid (§ 50 paragraph 4 b sentence 9 of the Constitution).

(2) Referendum procedures for the same subject to a Parliament plebiscite, which were not annexed to the Parliament plebiscite as counter template, rest during the period referred to in paragraph 1.

The Government determines the rest of a referendum procedure; The determination is delivered by the Government to a representative of the referendum process and to inform the Parliament.

References: Hamburgisches Gesetz über Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid (Volksabstimmungsgesetz - VAbstG), 1996, (accessed Dec. 3, 2019)

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

§ 9 Registration

The citizens' initiative is supported by handwritten signature on registration lists at registration places or free collection by the initiators. The registrations also are performed by other procedures that comply with the requirements of a legally binding authentication and writing on the basis of existing federal and state schemes.

§ 10 Registration lists

(1) The registration lists must doubtless referring to the bill or the other template (§ 3 paragraph 2 No. 1).

The wording of the draft law or other template must be attached. They must include also the indication of the names of the three representatives and their competences under this Act.

(2) The facilities of registration and of venues are to determine so that all eligible citizens have sufficient opportunity to participate in the citizens' initiative.

§ 12 Content of the registration

(1) The registration must contain the first name and family name, the year of birth, address and the signature of the person entitled to registration and the date of the signature performance. § 4, paragraph 3, sentence 2 shall apply accordingly. The signature must be made by hand. If a person authorized for registration explains to a registration authority that she can't write, the signature is replaced by the establishment of this statement.

(2) The registration may not be withdrawn.

§ 13 Registration by letter

(1) Eligible persons for registration can request the entry with a written letter or in an approved electronic process. (..)

§ 14 Invalid registrations

(1) Registrations that do not correspond to the provisions of this act, are not valid.

(2) The District Electoral Board decides on the invalidation of registrations.

References: Hamburgisches Gesetz über Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid (Volksabstimmungsgesetz - VAbstG), 1996, (accessed Dec. 3, 2019)

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

§ 30 Accountability

(1) The initiators have a duty, within two months after submission of the application on carrying out of the referendum (§ 18 paragraph 1) to give account to the State Electoral Officer on the origin and three months after the notification of the result of the referendum (§ 23 paragraph 6) about the origin and use of the funds which are accrued to them for the purpose of conducting the agenda initiative, the citizens' initiative and the referendum. § 25 paragraph 2 numbers 1 and 6 of the Law on Political Parties in the version of 31 January 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 150), last amended on August 23, 2011 (BGBl. I S. 1748), shall apply mutatis mutandis. An accepted illegal donation is to forward at the latest with the delivery of the report to the competent authority.

(2) The initiators of a referendum request have to report the origin and use of the funds, which are accrued to them for the purpose of conducting the referendum initiative and of the referendum within three months after the voting day of the referendum to the State Electoral Officer. Paragraph 1 sentences 2 and 3 apply mutatis mutandis. If a referendum does not take place due to the repeal of an amendment or a changed decision, the reporting of accountability, by way of derogation from sentence 1, must be within three months after the promulgation of the repeal act or repealed decision.

(3) The initiators of a counter template in a Parliament plebiscite have to to be accountable about the origin and use of the funds, which are accrued to them for the purpose of conducting the counter template within three months after the voting day to the State Electoral Board. Paragraph 1 is sentences 2 and 3 apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) The State Electoral Board reports the President of Parliament without delay about the particulars referred to in paragraph 1 and 2. The report is distributed as printed matter of the Parliament.

§ 30 a Reimbursement of costs

(1) If a referendum is conducted (§ 18), the initiators of the agenda initiative are entitled to refunds of the proven costs of a reasonable information of the public about the goals of a citizens' initiative and referendum. The agenda initiative is carried out by the initiators on their own cost.

(2) The amount of the reimbursement is limited to 0.10 euros for each valid Yes-vote; not more than 400 000 votes are taken into account.

(3) The claim referred to in paragraph 1 is excluded, if the initiators of the agenda initiative did not fulfill their obligation of accountability according to § 30 (1).

(4) After the conducted referendum the initiators of the referendum request have the right of refunds for the proven costs for the adequate information of the public. The paragraphs 2 and 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis, insofar that the valid No-votes are used instead of the Yes-votes. Do the representatives of several registered signature collections make a reimbursement request, the reimbursement amount is reduced according the relationship between the submitted supporting signature lists of each of the initiatives and the referendum request.

(5) If a referendum does not take place due to the repeal of an amendment or changed decision, the initiators of a concluded referendum request, have claim for the reimbursement of the proven expenses for an adequate information to the public in the amount of up to EUR 20,000. Paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 sentence 2 apply mutatis mutandis.

(6) The paragraphs 1 to 3 apply on counter templates in a Parliament plebiscite mutatis mutandis.

References: Hamburgisches Gesetz über Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid (Volksabstimmungsgesetz - VAbstG), 1996, (accessed Dec. 3, 2019)

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

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