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

 Article 3 [Exercise and Division of power] 

(1) All State authority emanates from the people. It is exercised by the people in elections and referendums, as well as through special institutions of legislation, the executive power and the jurisdiction.

(2) The legislation is entitled to the State Parliament or directly to the people. (..)

Article 72 [Citizens' initiative, referendum] 

(1) If the State legislature does not approve the unmodified agenda initiative within six months, the applicants may start a citizens' initiative with the aim to conduct a referendum on the application. The applicants can base the citizens' initiative on a modified bill compared to the agenda initiative. In this case, article 71(2) shall apply.

(2) A referendum takes place if at least 450 000, but not more than 15 per cent of the electorate support the citizens' initiative by their signature. For the support at least six months must be available. The State Parliament may add an own bill to the referendum.

(3) A period of at least three and not more than six months must pass between a successful citizens' initiative and the referendum, which is used for public information and discussion on the subject of the referendum. This period may only be shortened or extended with the consent of the applicant.

(4) In the case of the referendum it is voted with a Yes or No-vote. The majority of the valid votes decides.

Article 74 [Amendment of the Constitution]

(3) (..) It can be amended as well by a referendum in accordance with article 72. The constitutional law is decided, if the majority of the electorate agrees.

References: Verfassung des Freistaates Sachsen, 1992 (accessed Jan 05, 2020)

Part 3 Referendum 

Section 1 General 

§ 16 Introduction of the citizens' initiative 

(1) If the State legislature does not approve the unmodified agenda initiative within six months after publication (§ 13), the applicants within a further six months can declare that they initiate a citizens' initiative with the aim of a referendum.

(2) The notice is to be submitted in writing by the representative and the deputy to the President of Parliament. The bill of the agenda initiative in the version which shall be the subject of the referendum must be specified in the declaration.

(3) If the request of the citizens' initiative depends on a modified bill compared to the agenda initiative, §§ 8 to 12 will apply accordingly.

§ 17 Publication 

The President of Parliament publishes the citizens' initiative with the underlying bill including justification without delay in the Saxon Official Journal.

Section 3 Filing, examination and cost 

Article 20 Period of support

The signature sheets of a citizens' initiative shall be submitted in total to the President of Parliament no later than eight months since the publication of the citizens' initiative in the Saxon Official Journal (§ 17).

§ 21 Examination by the President of Parliament 

The President of Parliament immediately decides whether the citizens' initiative meets the formal requirements. When assessing the validity of supporting signatures, he is not bound to the decision of the municipality in accordance with § 19 in conjunction with §6.

§ 22 Determination of the result

(1) The President of Parliament notes that the citizens' initiative is supported by the signatures of 450 000 or by at least 15 per cent of the electorate, he declares it as completed with success.

Part 4 Referendum 

Section 1 Preparation and organization of the voting 

§ 26 Voting day 

(1) If the President of Parliament declares the citizens' initiative as successfully completed, he immediately determines the voting day. The day of the vote is set on a Sunday or legal holiday.

(2) A period of at least three and not more than six months must be between the finding that the citizens' initiative is successfully completed, and the referendum. This period may only be reduced or be extended with the consent of the applicant.

§ 27 Notification of the day and the subject of the referendum 

(1) The President of State Parliament publishes the voting day and the subject matter of the referendum immediately in the Saxon Official Journal.

(2) The notice of the subject matter has to contain:

1. the text of the draft law including justification,

2. in case that the Parliament makes use of the possibility of article 72 paragraph 2 sentence 3 of the Constitution of the Free State of Saxony, the text of the enclosed draft law including justification,

3. the content of the ballot.

§ 41 Announcement of voting results 

The State Electoral Officer informs the Parliament and the State Government about numeric result of the referendum determined by the State Electoral Committee and makes it known in the Saxon Official Journal.

Section 4 Conclusion and examination 

§ 42 Acceptance of draft legislation 

(1) A bill is adopted by referendum, if the majority of the valid votes is 'Yes'. If the number of valid Yes - and No-Votes is equal, the bill is rejected.

(2) If in a simultaneous vote for several bills which relate to the same subject matter, but in terms of content are not compatible, each received more valid Yes-votes as No-votes, the draft is adopted, which received the most Yes-votes. Is the number of valid votes the same for multiple bills, the one is adopted which unites the biggest number of Yes-votes after the deduction of the No-votes against it.

Part 5 Constitutional amendment by referendum

§ 50 Constitutional amendment on the initiative of the people

(1) §§ 2 to 41 §§ 43 to 48 apply on the implementation of the agenda initiative, the citizens' initiative and the referendum directed towards a constitutional amendment.

(2) The constitutional law is decided, if the majority of the electorate agrees. § 42 para 2 finds appropriate application.

References: Gesetz über Volksantrag, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Jan. 06, 2020)

Subject Matter:

To apply for a referendum on a draft bill, introduced by an agenda initiative and rejected by Parliament

Actors

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

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
450 000 or by at least 15 per cent of the electorate
Available Time:
8 months
Turnout Quorum:
None
Approval Quorum:
A bill is adopted by referendum, if the majority of the valid votes agrees. If the number of valid Yes - and No-Votes is equal, the bill is rejected. (2) If in a simultaneous vote for several bills which relate to the same subject matter, but in terms of content are not compatible, each received more valid Yes-votes as No-votes, the draft is adopted, which received the most Yes-votes. Is the number of valid votes the same for multiple bills, the one is adopted which unites the biggest number of Yes-votes after the deduction of the No-votes against it. Constitutional amendment: Majority of the electorate
Geographical Quorum:
None
Excluded Issues:

Article 73 [Inadmissibility of an agenda initiative, citizens' initiative and referendum, repeat]

(1) On tax, salary and budget laws agenda initiative, citizens' initiatives and referendums will not take place.

(2) An agenda initiative rejected by referendum can be repeated only at the earliest after expiry of the term of the Parliament.

(3) The further on citizens' agenda initiative, citizens' initiative and referendum determines a law in which also the entitlement to reimbursement of the necessary cost for the organisation of the citizens' initiative and a reasonable vote campaign is regulated.

References: Gesetz über Volksantrag, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Jan. 06, 2020)


Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

§ 18 Signature sheet

(1) The signatures to a citizens' initiative are to present on signature sheets according the official model.

(2) Each signature sheet shall contain the following information:

1. the wording of the referendum with the underlying Bill including explanatory statement and the date of publication in the Saxon Official Journal,

2. the names and addresses of the representative and the deputy.

(3) The procurement of the signature sheets is the responsibility of the applicants.

§ 19 Supporting signatures and its confirmation by the municipality

§§ 5 and 6 shall apply accordingly.

Section 3 Filing, examination and cost

Article 20 Period of support

The signature sheets of a citizens' initiative shall be submitted in total to the President of Parliament no later than eight months since the publication of the citizens' initiative in the Saxon Official Journal (§ 17).

References: Gesetz über Volksantrag, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Jan. 06, 2020)

Wording Of Ballot Question:

§ 37 Voting with ballot papers

(1) Voting will be on official ballots.

(2) The voter is exercising the right to vote in the manner that he marks with a cross the circles on the ballot residing next to the words "Yes" and "No" or by another type of marking of the ballot which clearly indicates, whether he wants to answer the question positive or negative. The voter then folds the ballot in the manner that his vote is not recognizable, and puts it into the ballot box. Sentence 1 shall apply mutatis mutandis if several bills are for the vote.

Article 33 Ballot

(1) The ballot papers and envelopes for postal voting (§ 38 para. 1) are produced officially.

(2) The content of the ballot is determined by the President of Parliament. The question to be submitted to the referendum shall provide that it can be answered with "Yes" or "No".

(2a) The pattern of ballots immediately after its official production shall be provided to the associations of people with disabilities who have declared their readiness to produce ballot templates. The State reimburses the associations for the necessary expenses caused by the production and distribution of ballots.

(3) If several bills relate to the same subject-matter but are in terms of content not compatible for the vote, they have to be listed on a ballot together. Their order depends on the number of valid signatures of support determined by the President of Parliament. If Parliament has an own bill submitted for decision of the people, it will be listed after those of the citizens' initiative. Paragraph 2 sentence 2 applies for each of these bills.

§ 39 Invalid voting and votes, interpretation rules, rejection of postal votings

(1) The vote is invalid if the ballot

1 is not officially made or intended to be made for another election or referendum,

2. contains no marking,

3. the will of the voters as a whole cannot be identified beyond reasonable doubt,

4. if the vote on several bills concerning the same subject contains several times a "Yes"

5. includes additions or reservation.

In case of the postal vote voting is also invalid, if the ballot was not submitted in an official voting envelope or is delivered in a voting envelope which obviously differs from the rest in a manner endangering the secrecy of a vote or contains a clearly tangible item, but a rejection did not occur pursuant to paragraph 4 no 7 or 8.

(2) If the ballot contains less votes than the existing draft legislation to be voted on, the missing votes are invalid. Votes where the will of the voters cannot clearly be identified with respect to individual bills are also not valid.

(3) In case of a postal vote several ballots in the envelope are considered as one ballot if these are marked equal or only one of them is marked; otherwise they are counted as invalid. A blank postal vote envelope is considered invalid.

(4) Postal vote letters must be rejected if

1. the postal vote letter was not received in time,

2. the postal vote letter did not contain a valid ballot identity declaration,

3. No voting envelope is attached in the postal vote letter,

4. neither the postal vote letter nor the voting envelope is sealed,

5. the postal vote letter includes several voting envelopes, but not containing the equal number of valid voting right declarations with the prescribed insurance on oath,

6. the voter or the assistant did not sign the mandatory insurance of oath for the postal vote,

7. no official vote envelope has been used or

8. a voting envelope has been used, which obviously differs in a hazardous way with respect to the secrecy of the vote from the rest or contains a clearly tangible object.

The sender of rejected postal votes are not counted as voters; their votes are are considered as not made.

(5) The ballot of a voter who took part in the postal vote is not voided in case he died before or on the voting day, moves away from the voting area or according to § 2 para 2 loses his right to vote.

Interaction With Authorities:
Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

§ 24 Reimbursement of expenses for the organization

(1) The necessary costs for the organisation of the citizens' initiative will be refunded for the applicants.

(2) The refund is payed in a lump sum of 0.51 EUR for every ten voters having validly supported the citizens' initiative through their signature; more than 450 000 voters are not taken into account.

(3) The refund can be requested in writing within two months after the determination referred to in § 22 at the President of Parliament.

(4) The amount of the refund shall be determined by the President of Parliament.

(5) At the request of the representative or the deputy the applicant is granted an interim payment up to the maximum of EUR 2 000. The application shall be submitted in writing to the President of Parliament. Payments are to repay after the support period, as far as they exceed the amount of the refund, or if a claim is not created.

Section 6 Cost

§ 47 Reimbursement of expenses for the vote campaign

(1) The applicants will be refunded for the costs of a reasonable vote campaign.

(2) The refund shall be a flat-rate and will be an amount of EUR 1.02 per 100 voters who voted in the referendum on the draft law of the applicant in a valid manner with "Yes".

(3) § 24 para 3 to 5 applies correspondingly. The relevant point in time within the meaning of paragraph 3 is the public announcement of the result of the referendum in accordance with § 41, in the sense of paragraph 5 sentence 3 the voting day. An interim payment is granted up to the maximum of EUR 4 500.

References: Gesetz über Volksantrag, Volksbegehren und Volksentscheid, 1993 (accessed Jan. 06, 2020)

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

Please check the regional Saxony agenda initiative, which must be conducted before applying for a citizens' initiative.


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