A Round Table, as proposed by the Initiative for More Democracy, could have allowed to arrive at consensus and to commonly work out a proposal. Instead, the ruling South Tyrolean’s People Party announced to put into its own hands the drafting of new legislation, which is to exclude right from its start models of direct democracy that are practiced in Switzerland.
As a consequence of the political move, two separate law proposals on direct democracy – one by the Initiative for More Democracy, the other one by the SVP – will now compete with each other with regards to being adopted by the Parliament (“Landtag”) of South Tyrol. Last year, the Initiative for More Democracy had initiated a law proposal for direct democracy reform. Backed by 18.000 signatures, this citizens’ initiative was successful in September 2013 and is now to be discussed by the constitutional committee of the South Tyrolean Parliament.
The Initiative for More Democracy expressed its disappointment following the broken promises by the SVP. As the Initiative for More Democracy states on 17 June, the SVP had reverted to its old style of rejecting direct democracy.
Campaigning for citizen-friendly direct democracy in Italy’s Northern Alpine province since 1995, the Initiative for More Democracy is well used to the SVP’s fierce opposition to direct democracy: Last year, the SVP tried to introduce a package of flawed citizen participation. If realised, it would have put serious obstacles to realising a citizen-initiated law proposal. However, the attempt by the SVP was defeated by a referendum, held in February 2014. The Initiative for More Democracy had initiated this referendum and ran a broad campaign against the SVP's law proposal in the second half of 2013.
- Initiative für Mehr Demokratie in Südtirol
Text by Cora Pfafferott