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

Article 55 (Legislative procedure)

(1) Bills are introduced by the Government or from the middle of the State Parliament and in accordance with articles 59 and 60 by the people. (..)

Article 60 (Citizens' initiative and referendum)

(1) A citizens' initiative can be directed towards enacting, amending and repealing a law. It shall be based on an elaborated draft bill with reasons. The citizens' initiative must be supported by at least 120,000 eligible voters.

(2) Budgetary laws, tax laws and salary laws cannot be the subject of a citizens' initiative. The decision whether a referendum is admitted, will be made by the Constitutional Court at the request of the State government or a quarter of the members of the parliament.

(3) If the Parliament does not adopt the draft law within a period of six months essentially unchanged, a referendum will take place at the earliest three, no later than six months after expiry of the period or the decision of Parliament not to adopt the draft law. The Parliament may present an own draft law about the subject of the citizens' initiative for the decision of the people.

(4) A bill is adopted by referendum, if the majority of voters, but at least a third of the electorate agrees. The Constitution can only be amended by referendum, if two-thirds of voters, but at least half of the electorate agree. Only the valid Yes - and No - votes count in the vote.

(5) The further is determined by the law.

References: Verfassung des Landes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,1993 (accessed Dec. 13, 2019)

§ 11 Implementation of a citizens' initiative

(1) The underlying draft bill can be directed towards to enact, amend or to repeal a law.

(2) The collection of signatures required by article 60 of the State Constitution of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is administered by the representatives of the citizens' initiative, subject to § 12.

§ 13 Request for approval of the citizens' initiative

The application for approval of a citizens' initiative is to be submitted to the Parliament, represented by the President. The application must include the following:

1. a prepared and reasoned draft law,

2. A list of the signatures expressly related to the draft law of at least 120,000 persons eligible citizens of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern at the time of signing and

3. the names and addresses of the representatives according to § 2 para 4.

§ 15 Completion of a citizens' initiative 

(1) An ongoing citizens' initiative can be declared as concluded by the State Electoral Committee, if the template of the initiative is out of date because of a bill pending in the State Legislature or was approved by it and the representatives declare the completion of the citizens' initiative.

(2) In the case of a completion pursuant to paragraph 1, the applicants have to be refunded with the necessary costs, if they are not responsible for the completion.

§ 16 Treatment of the citizens' initiative in the Parliament 

(1) The President of the State Parliament causes that the approved citizens' initiative is treated immediately upon receipt the earliest time possible in the Parliament session in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Parliament.

(2) In the Committee of Parliament in charge of dealing with the citizens' initiative the representative of the applicant has the right to explain the citizens' initiative. The respective Committee determines the further, especially the timing. It can include also further persons in the hearing.

(3) If the Parliament accepts the coveted Bill within six months essentially unchanged, a vote on the citizens' initiative (referendum) in accordance with article 60 of the Constitution of the State is omitted.

§ 18 Requirements for the referendum 

If Parliament rejects a bill presented by a citizens' initiative or it fails the period according to § 16 para 3, at the earliest three at the latest six months after the rejection decision or the expiry a referendum on the bill will be conducted. The Parliament can present an own bill to the decision of the people.

§ 19 Voting day and the subject of the referendum

(1) The Government shall determine the day of the vote on a Sunday or legal holiday and announces it in the Official Journal for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with the subject of the referendum, which includes an explanation of the current and further process, the bill and grounds. With the announcement, the Government and the Parliament in a concise and factual form may present their opinion on the draft.

(2) If several bills are to vote on which relate to the same subject-matter, but are in terms of content not compatible, they are listed on one ballot together in the order in of the number of valid registrations identified by the State Electoral Officer. A draft submitted according to § 18 of the Parliament is performing at last place.

§21 Voting 

(1) The voting is general, direct, free, equal and secret. The voter marks with a cross on the ballot, whether he wants to answer the question with "Yes" or "No" or with which one of the non compatible drafts he agrees. The State Electoral Officer determines the content of the question.

(2) Votes are invalid if the ballot

1. is not officially made,

2. the will of the voters cannot be recognized without doubt.

3. is crossed out, teared in parts or cut,

4. contains amendments, indicator, endorsements or reservations or is provided with an attachment.

A ballot which is not marked is considered as an invalid vote.

(3) If there are several bills relating to the same subject-matter, but are in terms of content not compatible to the vote, each voter has only one vote.

(4) The Ministry of the Interior may admit that officially approved vote-counting devices to be used in place of ballots.

§ 22 Result of the referendum 

(1) The State Electoral Committee determines the result of the referendum.

(2) A bill is adopted by referendum if the majority of votes cast, but at least one-third of the electorate agrees. If the number of valid Yes-votes and No-votes is equal, the draft bill is rejected.

(3) The State Electoral Officer announces the outcome of the referendum in the Official Journal for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

(4) If the draft law receives the required majority, the Prime Minister immediately after the legal declaration statement has to execute the law and to announce that the law is adopted by referendum.

Article 23

In case of a constitutional amendment by referendum two thirds of those who cast their votes, must have agreed, but at least half of the electorate. In addition, the provisions of the fourth section of this act apply unchanged.

References: Gesetz zur Ausführung von Initiativen aus dem Volk, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Volksabstimmungsgesetz) VaG M-V, 1994, (accessed Dec. 13, 2019)

Subject Matter:

To call a referendum to enact, amend or repeal a law/constitutional amendment

Actors

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

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
120 000 eligible voters
Available Time:
No deadline in case of free collection; additional official registration: 2 months
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
Law: Majority of votes cast, but at least one-third of the electorate Constitutional amendment: 2/3rd majority, but at least half of the electorate
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

Budgetary laws, tax laws and salary laws cannot be the subject of a citizens' initiative.

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

§ 12 Display of registration lists in the municipal authorities

(1) If the underlying bill of a citizens' initiative was as an agenda initiative previously deliberated and rejected by the Parliament pursuant to article 59 of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern State Constitution the representatives of the citizens' initiative may require the display of signature lists in the municipal authorities regardless of the possibility of a free signature collection. The same applies if the Parliament has not decided on an elaborate and reasoned bill of an agenda initiative within a period of three months.

(2) It is the task of the representatives of the citizens' initiative to produce the registration lists and their dispatch to the municipality authorities. Also an underlying bill of the citizens' initiative with grounds has to be sent to the municipal authorities.

(3) The registration period at the municipal authorities is two months. The representatives of the citizens' initiative determine the start of the registration period. The period shall start at the earliest two weeks after receipt of registration lists in the municipal authorities.

(4) During the registration period the municipal authorities are obliged to display proper registration lists during the normal service hours. The citizens must have opportunity to read the underlying bill and the explanatory statement.

(5) The registration period, the registration places and the off times are to publish upon receipt of the draft law by the municipal authorities. It is to inform about the wording of the draft law suggested by the citizens' initiative and to point out that all eligible persons can support the citizens' initiative through their signature in the registration list.

(6) After the registration deadline the municipal authorities provide the representatives of the citizens' initiative with the registration lists.

References: Gesetz zur Ausführung von Initiativen aus dem Volk, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Volksabstimmungsgesetz) VaG M-V, 1994, (accessed Dec. 13, 2019)

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

§ 6 Advice by the State Electoral Officer

The representatives of the agenda initiative or of the citizens' initiative can contact in writing the State Electoral Officer for advice with regard to the necessary compliance with formal requirements of a planned agenda initiative or a citizens' initiative. The State Electoral Manager informs within four weeks after receipt of the inspection request, whether the transmitted documents comply with the legal and constitutional requirements.

References: Gesetz zur Ausführung von Initiativen aus dem Volk, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Volksabstimmungsgesetz) VaG M-V, 1994, (accessed Dec. 13, 2019)

Transparency And Finance:

Article 17 Cost

In the cases of § 12, municipal authorities are refunded with the costs for the public announcement of the citizens' initiative by the State.


§ 25 Reimbursement of costs 

(1) The costs of the referendum are covered by the State. It reimburses the necessary expenses incurred in the preparation and conduct of the referendum of each administration offices, cities not belonging to a county and the counties with a single fixed amount per eligible person.

(2) Ongoing personal and factual cost for the use of rooms and equipment of offices of administration offices, cities not belonging to a county, municipalities not administered by their county (amtsfrei) and the counties will not be refunded. In case of a simultaneous implementation of a referendum with elections or votes at the municipal level the amount of the refund to the respective municipal authority pro rata is reduced about the savings on the basis of the same time election or vote.

(3) The amount shall be fixed by the Ministry of the Interior in consultation with the Treasury by decree. The reimbursement amounts are paid by the State Electoral Officer to the municipalities not administered by counties and the counties as well at the same time for the district offices and municipalities not administered by a county.

References: Gesetz zur Ausführung von Initiativen aus dem Volk, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Volksabstimmungsgesetz) VaG M-V, 1994, (2006)

(2) Ongoing personal and factual cost for the use of rooms and equipment of offices of administration offices, cities not belonging to a county, municipalities not administered by their county (amtsfrei) and the counties will not be refunded. In case of a simultaneous implementation of a referendum with elections or votes at the municipal level the amount of the refund to the respective municipal authority pro rata is reduced about the savings on the basis of the same time election or vote.

(3) The amount shall be fixed by the Ministry of the Interior in consultation with the Treasury by decree. The reimbursement amounts are paid by the State Electoral Officer to the municipalities not administered by counties and the counties as well at the same time for the district offices and municipalities not administered by a county.

References: Gesetz zur Ausführung von Initiativen aus dem Volk, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Volksabstimmungsgesetz) VaG M-V, 1994, (accessed Dec. 13, 2019)

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

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