Please spread this widely.

Direct democracy in Germany no longer taboo

4 September 2017

A general election will be held in late September this year 2017. Many citizens and also political pundits assess the electoral contest and the campaigns of the various parties to be rather boring. A major reason for this is that the conservative christian democrats (one branch the CSU in Bavaria, another the more-or-less united CDU in the rest of re-united Germany) are likely to remain in power, after around 12 years of  dominance in government. Related to this is another for many less than exciting probability, that the presidential-style prime minister (Kanzler or Kanzlerin) will, whatever the success or failure of political parties other than hers, continue to be Dr. Angela Merkel, leading her party the CDU.

A few election themes, issues on which the major parties have relatively minor disagreement, have cropped up, but none seem to hold potential for major changes in voting behaviour. Ms. Merkel's party block CDU/CSU is heading for around 40% of votes, her main rivals and current coalition partners the Social Democrats SPD will struggle to reach 25%. Several smaller parties across the political spectrum are predicted to take around 8% each. A large number of electors say that they have yet to decide how to vote on 24th September.

One theme with potential to produce substantial political change has lurked under the surface of public discourse so far in this elections campaign. It is the proposal, to introduce some elements of citizen-led direct democracy for central government of the German federation. This proposal has for years been supported in opinion surveys by a large majority of voters. Those political parties which may support this reform include the Social Democrats SPD, the Greens, the Free Democrats (liberals) and in a game-changing salto the Christian Social party of Bavaria (sister party in chancellor Merkel's CDU/CSU block). There is a reasonable chance that there could  be enough MPs (Mitglieder des Bundestages) in the the next federal parliament, who support the introduction of citizen-led direct democracy, and can provide a constitution-changing majority for this reform.

It may be the case that some of the (around 50% according to some pollsters) undecided electors/citizens/voters have noticed their chance to improve the quality of politics by giving their vote to MPs who will support the introduction of more citizen-led direct democracy. Many have probably not noticed or considered this matter: The main-stream media commonly suppress or openly denigrate citizen-led direct democracy so active citizens and independent campaigns are called upon to spread objective information about it. One such campaign is run by the member organisation Mehr Demokratie.*

* The active reform group Mehr Demokratie (More Democracy) has over 10.000 members and is supported by numerous other organisations. Hundreds of thousands of citizens have supported their campaigns and over five million signatures have been collected for their proposals.

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB  Link to site index