proposed law
Left, green and free voters for more citizen participation

State Parliament of Brandenburg

The Brandenburg State Parliament in Potsdam. Photo: Bernd Settnik/dpa/archive image

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In the Brandenburg parliamentary groups, more citizen participation in political decisions is being discussed. The left advertises in an application for a citizen participation law – and receives support from other groups.

The left-wing faction in the Brandenburg state parliament wants more citizen participation in public administration projects. In an application, she calls on the state government to submit the draft for a citizen participation law to the state parliament by the end of 2022. With this, a central service point for citizen participation should be set up at the State Chancellery. The application has been submitted to the German Press Agency. More and better citizen participation strengthens democracy, promotes acceptance and strengthens the legitimacy of political action.

On Friday, Parliament will discuss the Left Group’s motion for a Citizen Participation Act, which is intended to create the legal basis for new forms of participation. The issue will be referred to the responsible committee if the red-black-green coalition can agree on it.

In Brandenburg For example, a citizens’ council could be set up, said the spokeswoman for the left-wing parliamentary group, including for rural development and regional planning, Anke Schwarzenberg of the dpa. Brandenburg has a formal participation of clubs and associations, but the citizens are left out, she criticized. “What is missing is the view of those who look at it from the outside and are able to find a compromise within a citizens’ council,” said Schwarzenberg. A legislative process successfully completed with the help of citizen participation, for example, strengthens democracy. In addition, there is more acceptance and transparency in the drafting of laws. With a law, citizen participation would be secured legally and under data protection law.

As an example of citizen participation, the left-wing member of the state parliament named the state of Baden-Württemberg, which already has a citizen participation law. It was scientifically supported. In Werder, too, citizens had a say in the new concept of the tree blossom festival at the municipal level, she explained. Berlin has set up a citizens’ council for the climate protection plan, which affects all areas of life.

The Greens support this form of public participation in principle. It is a good tool because it brings together different people who are forced to discuss an issue with each other, said the group’s spokeswoman for local politics, Marie Schäffer. Citizens’ councils would give you different voices from society and an outside perspective. When it comes to solving the major social issues such as climate protection and structural change, you have to stay in dialogue, she emphasized. “I think it’s wrong if only politics decides,” said the Green politician.

The BVB/Free Voters faction will agree to the Left Party’s motion. “The application is a step towards better citizen participation,” said MP Philip Zeschmann. New forms and methods of public participation such as future or citizens’ workshops or planning cells must be institutionalized. Alibi events, the results of which then disappear in a drawer without effect, would not help the citizens, he estimated. «Therefore he has to Parliament ensure that the will of the people actually flows into the process of political decision-making and decision-making in the parliaments.”

dpa