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FDP calls for more referendums

DDP/The Local · 1 Aug 2010, 12:51

Published: 01 Aug 2010 12:51 GMT+02:00

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In an interview with Super Illu magazine published Sunday, Pieper said, "With referendums not only on the local and state levels, but on the federal level too, politics can win back trust and credibility."

Pieper said that politics should have more courage and "allow people to have direct influence on national decisions." She also believes this should include the election of the German president, who is currently elected by the Federal Convention, made up of parliamentarians and selected state representatives.

A state-level referendum, provoked by a public initiative delivering a successful petition, recently enforced a full smoking ban in public buildings in Bavaria, but national referendums currently do not exist in German law. The Bavarian ban came into force on Sunday.

According to Pieper, who is also a minister of state in the Foreign Ministry, the political parties have noticed "an increasing loss of trust among the people in politics and its institutions."

"The turnouts are sinking further and further, and fewer and fewer people believe that they can influence decisions through elections," Pieper told the magazine. "We politicians should listen more and move closer to the population."

"The more direct democracy we have, the more referendums and public initiatives there are, the harder we politicians have to work," Pieper concluded, describing the result as a "healthy competition" that would give politics a real chance to win back the trust of the people.

Story continues below…

Pieper described Germany's reunification twenty years ago as "the most beautiful example of a public initiative."

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

21:55 August 1, 2010 by vonSchwerin
To be honest, this strikes me as pandering for votes, especially coming from Germany's most elitist political party.

A lot of political scientists believe that referenda might seem like a good thing (more democracy!), but in fact it's a bad thing (subject to mob/herd mentality, populism). Imagine if Germany really did adopt legislation-by-referendum as the final word in the issuance of laws. Do we really want Germany to end up like California? Because that's the classic example of referenda getting out of control.

No, the situation doesn't have to end up that way, but it could very easily.
06:17 August 2, 2010 by danamcmahon
California put marijuana on a referendum. Now that is a catchy issue. Vote pot or party, bring leadership to Germany.

I think Germany is leading, direction and leadership somewhat

narrow. But so is Ying and Yang after you bang their heads together. So vote with your heads.
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