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Hamburg (Germany) Struggle for binding referendums

Hamburg (Germany) Struggle for binding referendums


No one in Hamburg can avoid to mention the coming referendum initiated by a broad alliance led by our network partner Mehr Demokratie (More Democracy): 3.800 posters are put up all over the city. They invite citizens to take part in the ballot hold on 14 October.

The organisers want to enforce binding referendums the in the city, which as well is one of Germany’s federal states. The frequent use of direct democracy in Hamburg is unique among the German regions.

but in the past the conservative government ignored the results of two important referendums. The first case the citizens voted in favour of the introduction of a modern voting law. Then a majority vetoed the privatisation of public hospitals. But the Christian democrats ignored both results. They used their absolute majority in the parliament to reject the decision of the majority.

In addition, the ruling party made it more difficult to initiative referendums. It was no longer allowed to gather signatures on the streets.

But our German network partner Mehr Demokratie took up the struggle for citizens-friendly and binding referendums. Therefore, two submissions were started. Both were signed by around 100.000 citizens in February 2007.

One of them was already successful. In future, the free collection of signatures will be again allowed.

However, the referendums are still not binding. Therefore, the constitution has to be changed.

To achieve this a referendum will be held on 14 October. The hurdles by law are high: 607.468 citizens must vote. Otherwise, the ballot is not valid.

Now it is an enormous challenge for the organizers to mobilize the support necessary.

 Ronald Pabst



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