Plans for sortition in Baden-Württemberg

Greens and CDU in the German state of Baden-Württemberg want to open up state and local politics to a broad application of sortition procedures. In the coalition agreement published on 5 May 2021, both parties announce corresponding reforms. Citizens' assemblies are also to be used in Rhineland-Palatinate.

In Baden-Württemberg, there are to be "citizens' forums with randomly selected citizens" on important draft laws. In the state constitution, "bridges are to be built between direct democracy and dialogue-based citizen participation - and thus between citizens and members of parliament". The Greens and the CDU want to extend the popular motion. Up to now, such a motion has made it possible for parliament to deal with an issue. The extension is intended to make it possible for a citizens' forum with randomly drawn citizens to be held at the Landtag. The latter should be able to accept, adapt or reject the proposals.

Popular motion in Baden-Württemberg

A popular motion must be signed by at least 0.5 per cent of those eligible to vote. All citizens who have reached the age of 18, have German citizenship and have had their primary residence in Baden-Württemberg for at least three months may sign.

At the municipal level, the participation of randomly selected citizens in local political decisions is to take precedence over referenda. This could mitigate polarisation and promote mutual listening. Randomly selected citizens should also be able to have a say in the drawing up of development plans.

Citizens' assemblies in Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia

Two days before the Green-Black coalition in Baden-Württemberg, the coalition of SPD, FDP and Greens in Rhineland-Palatinate had agreed to test citizens' assemblies in planning and change processes.

In 2020, the Left, SPD and Greens in Thuringia had already agreed in their coalition agreement to convene a citizens' assembly to review citizens' participation in the state. Some of the previous instruments did not achieve the intended goals of effective participation and direct democracy. Therefore, citizens are to be directly involved in the review via a citizens' assembly.

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