Anti-smoking Volksbegehren heading towards success

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Signatures are currently being collected across Bavaria for the anti-smoking "Volksbegehren", a petition for a referendum. If 10% of registered voters sign the petition within a two-week period, the Bavarian parliament is obliged to either accept the proposals as they stand and pass the necessary legislation, or to hold a general referendum on the issue.

 

Since last Thursday and until 2 December, signatures are being collected for anti-smoking proposals ("non-smoker protection"), which would ban smoking in all public places, including pubs and night clubs. Launched by the ÖDP ecological party, it is a response to the weakening of the previous anti-smoking legislation in the summer. The ruling party, the CSU, has not stated what they would do if the 10% hurdle is reached next week.

 

Fewer than half of the Volksbegehren in Bavaria have succeeded, and the last successful one was back in 1997 (for the removal of the Bavarian Senate). Eyebrows are however being raised at the progress of this one. After four days of voting and the best part of ten days still to go, the current tally stands at 320,000 names – equivalent to 3.34% of eligible voters. Apparently the voting rate tends to increase over the course of the vote after a relatively quiet start. This coming weekend will be especially busy, since town halls will be specially opening to allow people to vote.

 

There’s still some way to go, but my earlier prediction that this vote will fail to reach the 10% target is looking unduly pessimistic right now. The organisers are keeping calm ("It’s going to be tight", "The voting rate is average", "The rain will deter people from signing"), but if this Volksbegehren follows the voting pattern of previous ones, then success is likely.

 

Further information on the process can be found at the Nichtrauchershutz website. The up-to-date tally of signatures can be found on this page; the target is around 950,000 by the evening of Wednesday 2 December.

 

post-977-1259067790997.jpg

 

Note: This thread is intended to be about statistics and the Bavarian political process, rather than about how all smokers are selfish bastards and all non-smokers are Nazis.

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Kind of, sort of, found what I was looking for statistics-wise, namely a day-by-day account of the number of people signing up to previous Volksbegehren. The file below (page 2) shows the cumulative day-by-day figures for the Volksbegehren from 1997 to 1995, but the figures only relate to Munich and not the whole of Bavaria. In any event, it shows how these votes start off quietly and then race ahead towards the end, especially over the second weekend when the town halls open up.

 

The forest-protection petition, for example, was at 4.34% at the end of Day 10, but finished four days later with 9.29%. The last successful Volksbegehren in 1997 nearly tripled the number of signatures in the last four days, from 35,000 to 95,000 in Munich.

 

The successful 1997 Volksbegehren was at 1.03% at the end of Day 4 in Munich. The current smoker-protection vote is at 2.83% at this stage. Make of that what you will, number-crunchers.

 

Vergleich mit bisherigen Volksbegehren (PDF)

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I was also pretty pessimistic about this too, but it's not looking too bad.

 

If this doesn't save us, the EU might come to the rescue. It's just a matter of time really.

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The successful 1997 Volksbegehren was also run by the ödp -- that's the tiny party whose campaign posters have a lion sitting on a tack. There too the CSU had promised to do something, chickened out, and the ödp took it upon themselves to see what the people would decide.

 

In this process, if the 10% hurdle is reached, the Landtag may decide to directly make the ödp's bill law (it's very similar to the original law that the CSU passed with Georg Schmid), or they may put it to a popular vote.

 

If you friend the group on Facebook you'll get the daily tally posted to your wall.

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I think that number is a little old. The latest number from 8:30 this morning was 4.17%. That's better than any previous referendum at this point in time (previous best: 2.04%), so it's shaping up to be interesting. Hopefully the success doesn't stop people from voting who otherwise would have.

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While I would be delighted at this going through is there anything to stop the smoking lobby immediately going off and starting their own petition?

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I think that number is a little old.

Well of course, they were the numbers available at the time the paper was being typeset sometime yesterday afternoon/evening. Remember, these numbers are provided by German civil servants who go home at 3 pm.

 

 

what would the pro-cancer lobby have to gain from a petition?

 

*must refrain from posting about liberalitas Bavariae, the sad excuse being used by the smoking lobby*

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400,000 and counting that's about halfway to the 940,000 votes needed.

If you think our debate here is claw and tooth it's getting really ugly out there: The organizers are receiving insulting and threatening e-mails and phone calls ranging from "long-haired eco-freaks" to - alternatively - Nazis or Commies. One bright guy called headquarters on his mobile and threatened the lady in the office with abduction and sexual torture - without hiding his number. He's facing serious charges.

(The Süddeutsche Zeitung hasn't updated its website yet so I can't link to the article, sorry)

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I was actually wondering when the death threats would start, took longer than expected.

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The pro-smoking volksbegehren in Berlin failed. So maybe all the loud-mouth smokers who cry about personal liberties may have to finally wake up and realize that a majority of people don't want to have to inhale their lung refuse.

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Seven days down, seven days to go. 5.15% is the score on the door. Link. Yesterday (Wednesday) was the busiest day yet, with a further 100,000 signatures collected.

 

The successful vote in 1997 was at 1.83% at this stage (in Munich).

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If you think our debate here is claw and tooth it's getting really ugly out there: The organizers are receiving insulting and threatening e-mails and phone calls ranging from "long-haired eco-freaks" to - alternatively - Nazis or Commies.

 

And some others are throwing stinky shit all over the Rathaus to deter people from voting. Good news is that it's not working.

 

I'm really amazed at the response to this. It makes me think that it's a small group of hardcore smokers that are pushing this issue in reverse. What I also find amazing is that to get the law implemented properly, there has to be this huge referendum (and even then it's not necessarily through), yet the loosening of the laws happened with the vote of just a few and got pushed through nice and quickly.

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Who is eligible to vote in this? Someone told me it is different than federal & state elections. Do you have to be German? Or is it enough to be registered (angemeldet) in Munich? Or have a certain type of visa? Couldnt find a definitive answer on the organisers website. Would love to vote if I am allowed.

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Sadly few foreigners are allowed to vote in this, not even EU citizens. If you can vote in the national federal elections, then you can sign this petition, otherwise you can't.

 

Freising has a population of 48,000 but only 31,700 are entitled to vote. Even if we very generously say that there are 10,000 children in the town (and thank fuck there aren't), that still leaves 6,000 residents without a voice on this issue and others. Quite a shocking democratic deficit there.

 

When I typed "a further 100,000 signatures" earlier on I had to double-check the statistics, because the scale of this thing only really just hit. That 100,000 people in a single day got off their arses to go their town hall to register their dissatisfaction is just brilliant. I love people power, and hopefully the strength of this turnout will deter the CSU from holding a referendum and instead just implement the legislation.

 

Just some interesting stats: The highest score is currently Möhrendorf (Mittelfranken), where 13.94% have already signed up. About a dozen towns have already exceeded 10%. In Arzberg in Oberfranken, only 0,54% have signed up.

 

Edit: Just found the stats. There are 8,300 minors in Freising, which means that there are 8,000 adults living here who are not allowed to vote – equivalent to 25% of adults. That's a massive number.

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What is the deal with this then if they do get the 10%? They have to go to another referendum? This makes the seemingly simple and easy way they loosened the rules even more of a joke.

 

I've just found somewhat of an explanation. But to be honest I don't understand this. Who are the gesetzlichen Mitglieder that they are talking about? If more than 1/3 of these guys decide they don't want to listen to the people, there has to be another referendum that must get 25%? What is the difference between this second referendum to this one? Why do it twice?

 

Even if 2/3 decide in favour, it can still go to a referendum, but a Volksentscheid "bei Verfassungsaenderung" this time. Again, what's the difference?

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