Politicians push to give public its say

Following the successful referendum in Switzerland over manager salaries, there is growing pressure in Germany from leading politicians to give citizens a direct say on key issues, the Bild am Sonntag reported.

Politicians push to give public its say
Photo: DPA

“A little bit more of Switzerland would be good for us,” Bavaria’s state president Horst Seehofer told the newspaper.

Last Sunday Swiss voters, in a referendum, overwhelmingly backed measures that will severely restrict executive pay and eliminate golden parachutes.

Seehofer said his party – the Christian Social Union – is pushing for a direct vote on fundamental European questions, he said.

Those questions, according to Seehofer, include whether or not to transfer important powers to Brussels, which countries to admit to the European Union and how much financial help it should get.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party, is also in favour of this. Parliamentary leader Rainer Brüderle said, “I recognize representative democracy but want to enhance it with elements of direct democracy.”

He said he is pushing for citizens’ decisions and participation on the federal and state levels.

According to a poll, Germans would most like a direct say when it comes to the elimination of nuclear power and changes in energy policy. They would also like a direct vote on the minimum wage question and on whether to limit managers’ salaries, among other topics.

The Greens, Social Democratic Party and the Left have all come out in favour of more decisions made directly by Germans. Green Party leader Claudia Roth said citizens should decide which topics they want to vote directly on.

The Local/mw

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