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

III. Section: Legislation 

Article 107 

The legislation is exercised

1. by the people through referendum.

2. by Parliament.

Article 108 

Bills can be introduced by way of the citizens' initiative, from the middle of the Parliament or by Government.

Article 109

(1) Citizens' inititiatives may be directed towards
1. adopt, amend or repeal laws
2. dissolve the State Parliament.
(2) They shall be addressed to the Government of the State and shall be submitted by it without delay to the State Parliament with its own opinion. In the case of paragraph 1 No. 1, the citizens' initiative must be based on a prepared bill.
(3) Citizens' inititiatives may be submitted by 300,000 persons entitled to vote, unless the Constitution provides otherwise. The registration period for petitions for a referendum shall be two months and shall begin within three months of the announcement of the admission of the petition for a referendum. Referendums on financial matters, tax laws and salary regulations are inadmissible.
(4) If the State Parliament does not approve a referendum request within three months, a referendum shall be held within a further three months. If, in the case of paragraph 1, No. 1, the Parliament submits to the People a bill of its own, the period for the holding of the referendum shall be extended to six months. A majority of the valid votes cast shall decide on acceptance or rejection; however, a law may be passed and Parliament dissolved only if at least one quarter of those entitled to vote participate in the vote. (
5) Further details shall be laid down in the Electoral Act. It may also provide that signatures in the admission procedure must be produced within a specified period of time

Article 129 

(1) A law amending the constitution is concluded only when the law explicitly changes the wording the State Constitution or supplements it and the State legislature decides it by a majority of two-thirds of the statutory number of members or by the people in the way of the referendum by a majority of the voters.

(2) Constitutional laws violating the principles set out in the prologue, in article 1 and article 74 are not permitted.

(3) The provisions of this article are unalterable.

References: Verfassung für Rheinland-Pfalz, 1947 (accessed Jan. 6, 2020)

§ 63 Application for authorisation

(1) The request for approval of a citizens' initiative is addressed in writing to the State Government.

(2) The request must

1. include the full text of the subject of the proposed citizens' initiative, if the citizens' initiative is about the creation, the modification or the repeal of a law, an elaborated and reasoned bill,

2. a short label, which rightly describes the subject of the citizens' initiative,

3. carry the personal and handwritten signature of at least 20000 voters, made not earlier than one year before the receipt of the request with the Government,

(3) Paragraph 3 and 4 shall apply mutatis mutandis § 60e.

(4) In the case of article 61, paragraph 1 no.3, the request must be

1. made within one month after the enactment (article 115 para 2 of the Constitution).

2. By way of derogation from paragraph 2 No. 3 carry the signature of at least 10000 voters.

(5) The provision of signatures according paragraph 2 is no. 3 and paragraph 4 No. 2 do not apply, if the Executive Committee of a political party or Voters Association represented in Parliament applies.

§ 60f Decision and notification [Agenda initiative!]

(6) If the State legislature does not agree with the agenda initiative, which has a draft law as subject, within the period mentioned in paragraph 4 sentence 1, the representatives of the agenda initiative can apply for conducting a citizens' initiative (article 108 a paragraph 2 sentence 3 of the Constitution). The request must be addressed to the State Government in writing within three months after the notification of the decision pursuant to paragraph 4 sentence 1. The authorisation process according §§ 62 to 64 shall be omitted. The State Electoral Officer publishes the request and sets the beginning and end of the period within which registration for the citizens' initiative can take place (registration deadline).

§ 64 Decision on the application for admission 

(1) The State Government decides on the application for authorisation. The request must be granted if the requirements of §§ 61 and 63 are met. $ 6, paragraph 1, of the Connectivity Execution Law shall remain unaffected.

(2) If the application contains remediable violations of section 63, a reasonable deadline is to apply for the applicants, up to a maximum of one month, to allow for the removal of defects. Sentence 1 does not apply to missing signatures. After the deadline, defects can no longer be remedied.

(3) The decision of the Government is to forward to the applicants from the State Electoral Officer and publish it. f the request is granted, the State Electoral Officer makes the approved form publicly known and sets the beginning and end of the period within which registration for the citizens' initiative can take place (registration deadline). If the application is dismissed the decision needs to be justified.

(4) If the request is granted the applicant immediately sets up an Internet page and pursuant to (3) set 2 stating the address of the website to the State Electoral Officer prior to the announcement, which he will include in the notice. On the website during the registration period the designated information according § 63 (2) N.1,2 and 4 is tu publish. § 60e, para 4, sentence 1 shall apply accordingly.

§ 65 Registration deadline

The registration deadline for the citizens' initiative is in the cases of § 61 para 1 No. 1 and 2 two months (article 109 paragraph 3 sentence 2 of the Constitution), in the case of § 61 para 1 No. 3 one month (article 115 paragraph 1 sentence 2 of the Constitution); It has to start at latest three months after publication of the registration, in the case of § 60f article 6 according to the public notice of the application.

§ 66a Registration

(1) The support of the citizens' initiative can be done by registration in a registration list or by a registration certificate.

(2) Registration lists can be displayed at the local administration. In addition, registration lists can be gathered in registration lists on public streets and places.

(3) In the presented registration list voters can register who have their residence in the municipality, in case of several homes their main residence in the municipality or who otherwise usually live there.

(4) The procurement of registration lists is a duty of the applicants. The registration lists must contain the full text of the subject of the citizens' initiative, as well as to refer to the representatives of the citizens' initiative and their deputies with the information prescribed in § 63 para 3 in conjunction with § 60e, para 4, sentence 1. At the latest prior to the start of the display or the collection of signatures on public roads, paths and squares, the municipality in which the registrations should be made, to be present in the registration list.

(5) The municipal administration publicly discloses the registration deadline, the wording of the subject of the citizens' initiative, and the requirements for the support of the citizens' initiative.

§ 71 Invalid registrations 

(1) Registrations are invalid if they do not meet the requirements of §§ 68 and 69 paragraphs 1 and 2 or which are not made within the registration period. Registrations according to § 70, paragraph 1, sentence 2 are invalid, if

1. the registration certificate is invalid,

2. the registration certificate does not clearly demonstrates the will of the voters or contains an addition or reservation,

3. the declaration of support of the citizen initative or the insurance in lieu of oath on the registration certificate is not signed or

4. the registration certificate is not received in a timely manner.

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

(3) A registration effected according to § 70, paragraph 1, sentence 2 is not invalid, if the voter died before the receipt of the certificate of registration in the municipality, moved his residence from the scope of this act or has lost his right to vote under § 3.

(4) If the invalidation of a registration is determined, it is to communicate to the voter under statement of the reasons.

§ 72 Determination of the result of the citizens' initiative

(1) After the expiry of the registration period, the municipality determines the number of valid and invalid entries.

(2) The State Electoral Committee determines the result of the citizens' initiative. It is not bound by the decisions of the local administration about the validity of the registrations.

(3) The citizens' initiative is concluded when 300000 voters have approved it (article 109 paragraph 3 sentence 1 of the Constitution). (..) .

(4) The State Electoral Officer publicly discloses the results of the citizens' initiative.

§ 73 Treatment of the citizens' initiative by the State Government 

(1) The State Electoral Officer shall send the documents about the citizens' initiative to the State Government.

(2) In the cases of § 61 para 1 Nos. 1 and 2 the Government has to submit the citizens' initiative with an own opinion to the Parliament without delay (article 109 paragraph 2 sentence 1 of the Constitution).

(3) In the cases of § 61 para 1 No. 3 is the cititizens' initiative immediately is to submit to the referendum (article 115 paragraph 1 sentence 1 of the Constitution).

§ 74 Treatment of the citizens' initiative in the Parliament 

(1) The State legislature decides within three months after the submission of a citizens' initiative. The representatives of the initiative have a right to be heard in the relevant committees of the Parliament.

(2) If the State Parliament in the case of § 61, paragraph 1 no. 1 accepts the coveted Bill unchanged or, in the case of article 61, paragraph 1 no. 2 decides its dissolving the referendum is omitted. The decision is to be provided to the applicants and to publish.

(3) If the Parliament decides in the case of § 61 para 1 No. 1 a law with which the content of the coveted bill is accepted in its essential structure so the Parliament determines at the request of the applicant the settlement of the citizens' initiative; the referendum is omitted. Paragraph 2 sentence 2 shall apply accordingly.

(4) If the Parliament rejects the citizens' initiative, it can present an own bill to the decision the people together with the coveted bill.

Referendum

§ 77 Requirements 

(1) The Government has to initiate a referendum, if

1. The Parliament does not accept a citizens' initiative according to article 61, paragraph 1 No. 1 or 2 within a period of three months (article 109 paragraph 4 sentence 1 of the Constitution).

(..)

(2) The referendum is conducted pursuant to paragraph 1 No. 1 within another three months (article 109 paragraph 4 sentence 1 of the Constitution). If Parliament presents an own bill to the people in the case of article 61, paragraph 1 No. 1, the deadline for the implementation of the referendum is extended to six months (article 109 paragraph 4 sentence 2 of the Constitution); Parliament will submit an own draft bill to the people with the refusal of the citizens' initiative.

§ 78 Notice of the referendum, ballot 

(1) The Government shall determine the day of the vote and announces it publicly with the subject matter of the referendum and the printing of the ballot. An explanation of the government is to add to the publication, brief and objective on both the explanatory statement of the applicants and the opinion of the Parliament and the Government about the subject-matter of the referendum.

(2) The question to be submitted to the referendum is to be provided so that it can be answered with "Yes" or "No". Are simultaneously several questions put to the vote, the question for each question must be "Yes" or "No".

(3) Are several bills relating to the same subject matter, with a content is not compatible with one another for the vote, the order of the questions varies according to the number of valid registrations identified by the National Electoral Committee (§ 72 para 2 sentence 1). If Parliament presents an own bill for the vote, the related question is placed last.

(4) §44 paragraph 1 and 4 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

§ 79 Voting 

(1) The voting is carried out in such a way that the voter indicates by a cross on the ballot paper, or otherwise whether he wants to answer the question with "Yes" or "No".

(2) In case there are several bills relating to the same subject matter, but the content is not compatible, for the vote, on any of the bills can be voted with 'Yes' or 'No'.

§ 81 The referendum result 

(1) An act is adopted through referendum, if it receives the majority of the valid vote and at least a quarter of the electorate participates in the vote (article 109 paragraph 4 sentence 3 of the Constitution). A law amending the constitution requires to its adoption in the form of the referendum the consent of the majority of the electorate (article 129 paragraph 1 of the Constitution).

(2) The Parliament is dissolved by referendum, if approved by the majority of the valid votes for the dissolution of the Parliament and at least a quarter of the voters participates in the vote (article 109 paragraph 4 sentence 3 of the Constitution).

(3) In the case of a tie-vote for the affirmation or the negation of a question, the question is considered to be denied. If several bills relating to the same subject matter, with content that is not compatible with one another, reached a majority referred to in paragraph 1, the draft law is adopted, which received the most valid 'Yes'-votes; In case of a tie number of 'Yes'-votes the Bill is adopted, which has received the largest number of 'Yes'-votes after deduction of the 'No'-votes.

§ 83 Promulgation and Official Copy of laws 

A law adopted by referendum is to be issued by the Prime Minister as law and to announce. In the initial remark, it is pointed out that the law is established by referendum.

§ 84 Notice of the dissolution of the Parliament 

The dissolution of the Parliament is to notice after the public announcement of the result of the referendum by the President of the Parliament in the Legislative and Regulation Gazette for the State.

References: Landeswahlgesetz, 2004 (accessed Ja. 06, 2020)

Subject Matter:

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

Actors

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

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Application: 20000 (not in case of a prior agenda initiative); Conducting: 300 000 voters
Available Time:
Application: 1 year; Conducting: 2 months - Application: In case of rejected agenda initiative: 3 months
Turnout Quorum:
Law (No constitutional amendment) At least a quarter of the electorate participates
Approval Quorum:
Law: Majority of the valid votes. Constitutional amendment: Majority of electorate.
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

§ 61

(..)

(2) Financial Affairs, tax laws and salary subjects cannot be the subject of a citizens' initiative (article 109 paragraph 3 sentence 3 of the Constitution). A citizens' initiative, which has a draft law as subject and the content of which is incompatible with the Constitution or other higher-ranking law, in particular the Federal Law, or which is directed to an improper revision of the Constitution is not permitted.

(3) Several independent issues cannot be the subject of one citizens' initiative.

References: Landeswahlgesetz, 2004 (accessed Jan, 06, 2020)

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

 § 68 Registration on public roads, paths and squares

(1) The applicants have inform about the intended collection of registrations in the registration lists on public roads, paths and places in writing or electronically not later than five working days before the municipal administration, under whose jurisdiction the collection shall be conducted.

(2) In the notification the family name, given name and address (main residence) of persons to be entrusted with the acceptance of registrations is to share .

(3) The entries in the registration list may only be done in the presence of the authorized person by the applicants. Before the registration, it is to point out that only voters may register, which meet the requirements of § 66a par. 3.

(4) The registration lists that contain entries, are to submit to the municipality within five days after the registration deadline.

(5) The municipal administration who forthwith after receipt of the registration lists will check the validity of registrations on the basis of the residence register. It will at random also assess whether the persons listed in the registration lists have actually made the registration.

§ 69 Contents of the registration 

(1) The registration must contain surname, first name and address (main residence) of the voters and the date of registration in clearly legible form in addition to the personal, and handwritten signature. A supplementary or reservation is prohibited.

(2) If a persons explains that he can't write or is because of a physical impairment unable, to register in the registration list, the entry is replaced by the determination of this statement.

(3) The registration may not be withdrawn.

§ 70 Registration certificates

(1) At request the eligible person receives a registration certificate from the municipality. In this case the registration is effected thereby that the voter declares on the registration certificate his support of the citizens' initiative and in time sends the registration certificate to the competent municipality, arriving there as latest on the last day of the registration period until 18:00 hours. § 19 paragraph 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) On the registration certificate, the voters or in case the assisting person declares to the municipal administration in lieu of oath that the declaration of support of the citizens' initiative was made personally or in accordance with the declared will of the voter.

The municipality is responsible for the filing of such insurance in lieu of oath; in this respect it is considered to be the authority in the sense of § 156 of the Penal Code.

References: Landeswahlgesetz, 2004 (accessed Jan, 06, 2020)

Wording Of Ballot Question:

§ 79 Voting 

(1) the voting is carried out in such a way that the voter indicates by a cross on the ballot paper, or otherwise whether he wants to answer the question with "Yes" or "No".

(2) In case there are several bills relating to the same subject matter, but the content is not compatible, for the vote, on any of the bills can be voted with 'Yes' or 'No'.

References: Landeswahlgesetz, 2004 (accessed Jan, 06, 2020)

Interaction With Authorities:

§60f

(..)

(7) In case of an application to conduct a citizens' initiative according (6) the applicants immediately set up an Internet page and to inform the State Electoral Officer about the address of the website pursuant to paragraph 6 sentence 4 prior to the announcement, who then will include it in the notice. The website has to include during the total registration period the described information according §60e (2) N. 1,2 and 4 and (4) sentence 1.

References: Landeswahlgesetz, 2004 (accessed Jan, 06, 2020)

Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

§ 76 Cost 

(1) If the application for conducting a citizens' initiative under § 60f, paragraph 6, sentence 1 and 2 is made on time or the application for authorisation of a citizens' initiative is granted according to § 64 para 1, the applicants are entitled to a refund of flat 0.10 EUR per necessary valid signature of support according to § 60e para 2 No. 3 or § 63 para.4 No. 2 for adequate information of the public.

(2) If a citizens' initiative was carried out, the necessary cost of production of registration lists and their dispatch to the municipalities, the applicants must be reimbursed with a flat-rate of 0.10 EUR per each necessary valid registration for an adequate information to the public about the target of the citizens`initiative.

(3) (..)

§ 84a Money or in-kind donations

(1) In connection with an agenda initiative, a citizens' initiative or a referendum the applicants and their representatives may not accept money or in-kind donations of

1. Factions and groups of the parliaments and local representative bodies,

2. Companies in a legal form of private law in which the public sector is involved with more than 25 per cent or managed or operated by it.

(2) Money donations are to be manage by the representatives of the agenda initiative or the citizens' initiative separately on an account, stating the name and address of the donor, as well as the amount of the donation. In-kind donations shall be disclosed in a written directory, specifying the name and address of the donor, as well as of the subject matter of the donation and their market value.

(3) Money or in-kind donations in connection with aan agenda initiative, a citizens' initiative or a referendum, which exceed EUR 5 000 in their total value, are notified by the representatives of the agenda initiative or the citizens' initiative, stating the name and address of the donor, as well as the amount of the donation or object of the donation at their market value. The publication has to be made in case of an agenda initiative towards the President of the Parliament with the request pursuant to § 60e para 1 and in case of a citizens' initiative towards the government with the request pursuant to § 63 para 1 and then to be made immediately and continuously. The details pursuant to sentence 1 are to be published by the applicants in the Internet according to §60f (7) and §64 (4).

(4) In case of actual indications of infringements against the duties in (1) to (3), the competent Ministry may order that the representatives of the agenda initiative or of citizens' initiative provide the information necessary for the examination and submit documentation as well as empower the financial institution providing the account to provide the relevant information.

References: Landeswahlgesetz, 2004 (accessed Jan, 06, 2020)


Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

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