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Europe

Berlin Moves to Allow Referendums

Berlin’s governing Social Democratic-Green coalition has agreed to present, for a second time, changes to the German constitution, paving the way for a possible vote on the Constitution.

Berlin’s governing Social Democratic-Green coalition has agreed to present, for a second time, changes to the German constitution, paving the way for a possible vote on the EU constitution. Franz Müntefering, the leader of the Social Democratic SPD party, said after a meeting with Green leaders on Monday that the Liberal FDP and the Christian Democrat CDU/CSU opposition parties would be invited for talks over the possible change. A two-third majority is needed in the Parliament and the Bundesrat (second chamber) to pass the new law, which was not reached when the German Government tabled a similar proposal in 2002. While the Liberal FDP and the Bavaria based Christian Social Union are broadly supportive, the larger Christian Democrat party has expressed strong reservations. If the new German law is approved, it will break with Germany's 55-year-old rules banning referenda -- which were abused in the run up to Nazism. The new bill would enable both citizens' initiative referenda and referenda called by the government. According to Müntefering 400,000 citizens should also be able to initiate new laws to be presented in the Parliament. (EUobserver.com)

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