Saxony-Anhalt, 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
Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Volksbegehren
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:
Article 2 Principles

(2) Sovereignty is invested in the people. All State authority emanates from the people. It is exercised by the people through elections and referendums and the powers of the legislation, the executive power and the jurisdiction.

Article 77 Decision of laws

(1) The laws are decided by the Parliament, as far as the people do not act directly by referendum.

(2) Bills can be introduced by the State Government, from the middle of the State Parliament or through a citizens' initiative.

Article 81 Citizens' initiative, referendum

(1) A citizens' initiative may be directed towards to enact a State law, to amend or to repeal it. The citizens' initiative shall be based on an elaborated bill with reasons. Budget laws, tax laws, and salary schemes cannot be the subject of a citizens' initiative. The citizens' initiative must be supported by at least 11 percent of the electorate.

(2) The State Government decides on the admissibility of a citizens' initiative; against their decision an appeal may be submitted at the State Constitutional Court. If the citizens' initiative is admissible, the State Government forwards the bill with its opinion to the Parliament without delay.

(3) If the Parliament does not adopt the draft of law within a period of four months unchanged, a referendum will take place on the draft law after at least three and not more than six months after expiry of the period or the decision of Parliament not to adopt the draft law. A bill is adopted by referendum, if the majority of the votes cast, but at least a quarter of the electorate agrees.

(4) The Parliament may present an own draft of law on the subject of the citizens' initiative to the decision of the people. In this case, the majority of the valid votes decides on the adoption.

(5) The Constitution can be amended on the basis of a referendum only, if two-thirds of the votes cast, but at least half of the electorate agrees.

(6) The further regulates a law which may provide for the reimbursement of the necessary costs of a reasonable advertising for the referendum.

References: Verfassung des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt , 1992 (aktuell: 2015)

§ 3 Representatives

(1) The agenda initiative or the citizens' initiative will be represented by five representatives.

(2) The representatives are entitled to issue and to accept binding declarations on behalf of the signatories. Declarations of the representatives shall only be binding if they are submitted by at least three representatives.

Section 3 Citizens' initiative

§ 10 Request for conducting

(1) The request for conducting a citizens' initiative is be addressed in writing to the Ministry of the Interior.

(2) The application must contain

1. a prepared and reasoned draft of law,

2. the support of this bill by personal and handwritten

Signature of at least 8000 persons entitled to participate, on separate signature sheets according to § 6 para 1; in addition section 6 paragraph 2 and 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis,

3. the indication of the representatives,

4. the signatures of the representatives.

(3) If a valid agenda initiative to the same or a bill with the same subject matter preceded the citizens' initiative, which the State legislature did not adopt unchanged within six months, the collection of signatures of support for the application on approval of a citizens' initiative under (2) No.2 is expendable.

(4) The Government shall inform the Parliament about the submission and subject-matter of the application.

§ 11 Decision

(1) The State Government decides on the request within one month on the implementation of a citizens' initiative. § 7, paragraph 1, sentence 2 shall apply accordingly for the examination. If no decision is made within this period, the application shall be deemed adopted. In the case of paragraph 3, the time limit is extended accordingly.

(2) The application must be rejected if

1. the application conditions are not fulfilled according to § 10 par. 2 and 3,

2. the bill affects a field of law about which the State has no legislative competence or otherwise is contrary the Federal Constitution, other Federal Law or the Constitution of Saxony-Anhalt.

3. The matter of the draft law is a budget law, tax law, or salaries schemes or

4. within the last two years before the submission a citizens' initiative a bill with regards to content has been completed unsuccessfully.

(3) § 5 para 3 shall apply accordingly.

(4) The decision shall be notified to the representatives immediately. A negative decision is to justify. The decision is, in case of rejection of the application to publish together with the explanatory statement in the Ministerial Gazette for the State of Saxony-Anhalt.

§ 12 Registration deadline

(1) If the request for conducting a citizens' initiative is accepted, the State Government, in consultation with the representatives sets the period within which the registrations for the citizens' initiative can be made (registration deadline).

(2) The registration period is six months. It may be closed earlier at the request of the representatives after at least three months, if it can be assumed that the required number of registrations is available.

(3) The registration period starts at the earliest four, but no later than eight weeks after the publication in accordance with § 13.

§ 16 Invalid registrations

Registrations are not valid which

1. are not personally signed,

2. do not include the information necessary to identify the person who has signed without a doubt by the registration authorities,

3. made by persons who are not entitled to participate,

4. not made on signature sheets with the necessary contents according § 15 (1) and (2),

5. not made in time,

6. include a supplementary or reservation or

7. made multiple times.

§ 18 Determination of the result

(1) The State Electoral Officer checks the correctness of the registration procedure and after examination by the registration authorities, determines the number of valid and invalid registrations. If obviously the required number of entitled participants pursuant to (3) is not achieved, the determination of the number of valid and invalid registrations on the basis of a representative sample is sufficient.

(2) The minutes of the examination and determination is delivered to the State Government.

(3) If at least eleven per cent of the eligible participants supported the citizens' initiative with their signatures, the Government determines the admissibility of the referendum. The number of required signatures is determined by the State Electoral Officer on the date of acceptance of the application by the State Government. The decision on the admissibility is to be made by the State Government immediately.

(4) The result set pursuant to paragraph 1 and the decision of the State Government is to deliver to the representatives and to make known in the Ministerial Gazette of the State of Saxony-Anhalt.

Article 19 Submission to the Parliament

(1) The Government submits the accepted citizens' initiative and its position immediately to the Parliament.

(2) For the further procedure the provisions about the treatment of bills apply with the provision that it finally decides on the citizens' initiative within four months after receipt by the Parliament. The representatives must be heard in the committees and in the deliberations of the Parliament.

(3) Several citizens' initiatives concerning the same subject to legislation, are treated together.

Section 4 Referendum

§ 20 Requirement and subject

(1) If Parliament does not accept the coveted draft law within a period of four months unchanged, the State Government has to submit it to a referendum.

(2) A draft law is considered unchanged for the purposes of (1) if because of requirements of the legal form it is changed editorially only.

(3) Several citizens' initiatives concerning the same subject of legislation, are treated together.

(4) The Parliament can submit a competing bill about the same subject to the referendum. The representatives of the citizens' initiative have the right to attach an opinion on the justification of the competing bill.

§ 27 Result of the referendum

(1) A bill is adopted by referendum, if the majority of those who have cast a valid vote, voted 'Yes'. But at least a quarter of the electorate must have approved it unless the Parliament has put forward with a competing draft law on the subject of the referendum for the decision of the people.

(2) In a simultaneous vote on multiple bills the conditions for the adoption according paragraph 1 are given several times, the Bill is adopted, which has received the largest number of votes. In case of an equal number of Yes-votes the draft is accepted which unites the greatest number of Yes-votes after the deduction of the No-votes.

(3) A bill amending the constitution is adopted by referendum, if two-thirds of those who cast their votes, but at least half of the electorate voted with 'Yes'.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 2005

Subject Matter:

To enact a State law, to amend or to repeal it.

Actors

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

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Application: 8000 (not necessary in case of a prior agenda initiative); Conclusion: 11% of electorate
Available Time:
6 months
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
Laws: Majority - corresponding at least a quarter of the electorate must have approved it unless the Parliament has put forward with a competing draft law on the subject of the referendum for the decision of the people. Constitutional amendments: 2/3rd majority, corresponding at least half of the electorate
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:
Budget laws, tax laws, and salary schemes
Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
restricted
Specify Collection Mode:
§ 6 Signature sheet

(1) The signatures for the initiative are to submit on signature sheets according the official pattern.

(2) The signature sheets must contain

1. a headline which clearly indicates the purpose of the signature collection,

2. an introductory text, containing the full text of the template or in case of a presentation of a bill the full title of the coveted law and a understandable summarising description of its essential content as well as an explanatory text, so that opportunity was given the signatories at the time of the signature to see the complete bill including justification

3. the indication of the representatives,

4. a special memorandum on the signature sheet which contains the conditions of participation right (§ 2) as well as a note for the signatories that with their signature they assure the existence of these conditions in their case,

5. the continuous numbering of the signatures on the respective signature sheets,

6. the name, first name, date of birth and the address of the main residence of the signatories in clearly legible form,

7. the date of each signature performance,

8. the personal and handwritten signatures.

(3) Eligible participants who are not able to write or read or are prevented through physical affliction from the registration can use the help of another person for the registration.

(4) The President of the Parliament provides official models for the signature sheets at request.§ 15 Registration, signature sheet

(1) § 6 para 1 to 3 by analogy shall apply as far as paragraph 2 contains no further provisions.

(2) The registrations have to be done on seperate registration sheets according to the local areas of responsibility of the registration offices, on which the competent registration authority is to specify. On the signature sheets it shall be noticed that only authorized participants can sign, who have their main residence in the local jurisdiction of the specified registration authority. The registration may not be withdrawn.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 2005


Wording Of Ballot Question:
§ 24 Ballot

(1) The ballots are made officially.

(2) The question presented with the referendum is to provide that it can be answered with "Yes" or "No".

(3) If several bills concerning same subject to legislation, are put to the vote together, they are to list on one ballot. The order depends on the number of valid registrations for the respective citizens' initiative. A competing draft of law submitted by the State legislature is headed after the drafts of the citizens' initiatives.

(4) The Ministry of the Interior may admit that officially approved voting machines are used in place of ballots. § 56 para 2 of the electoral law of the State of Saxony-Anhalt shall apply mutatis mutandis.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 2005

Interaction With Authorities:
Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:
§ 31 Cost

(1) The applicants of a citizens' initiative adopted in accordance with § 11 will be refunded for the costs of appropriate advertising for the citizens' initiative with a lump sum of 0.26 Euros per valid registration for the initiative. Registrations which exceed the required number of signatures, shall be disregarded. The request for the payment of the amount refunded must be submitted in writing from the representatives within two months after the decision of the Government on the admissibility of the citizens' initiative to the President of the Parliament.

The proof referred to in paragraph 3 must be done at the same time.

(2) In the case of a referendum, the costs of appropriate advertising for the referendum will be refunded to applicants of the coveted draft with a lump sum of 0.26 Euros of per valid Yes-vote. Votes that go beyond the number of 25 per cent of the electorate will be disregarded. The determination and the payment of the amount refunded must be requested at the President of Parliament in writing within two months after the determination of the result. The proof referred to in paragraph 3 must shown at the same time.

(3) The amount to be refunded pursuant to paragraphs 1 or 2 by the applicant may not exceed the total expenses for advertising proven by the representatives.

(4) The amount of the refund is determined by the President of the State Parliament and paid to the representative. Each of the representatives is entitled to receive it.

(5) The State Court of Audit checks to see whether the reimbursement of costs according to the provisions of the Act has been carried out.

(6) For official acts in the course of the implementation of this law no fees or costs are charged. The State reimburses the municipalities for the necessary expenses incurred due to a referendum, excluding the running costs for personnel and equipment. No refunds will be granted for the use of spaces and buildings of the municipalities.

References: Gesetz über das Verfahren bei Volksinitiative, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 2005

Practice

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