GERMANY: Basic Income Party on Ballot in State Election
Germany’s basic income political party, Bündnis Grundeinkommen, will be on the ballot for the first time in the federal state of Saarland, which holds state elections on March 26, 2017.
Unlike Switzerland–which held a national referendum on basic income in June 2016 after campaigners collected more than the necessary 100,000 signatures–Germany does not allow national referenda. Thus, basic income supporters decided to launch a dedicated political party as a means to put the issue on the ballot in the nation’s federal elections, to be held on September 24, 2017.
The party achieved a significant step forward in January, when the election commission of the federal state of Saarland announced that Bündnis Grundeinkommen would appear on the ballot in the state’s election on March 26, 2017.
In a press release announcing the achievement, press officer Ronald Heinrich said:
Bündnis Grundeinkommen will be on the ballot [in] one of three electoral districts, but it is the first real test for the idea of basic income in Germany in an election. To fulfill the legal requirements in Saarland was a real stunt. The federal chapter was just founded six weeks ago, and to get everything sorted and done over the Christmas holidays is a huge achievement for everybody involved.
Ronald Trzoska, chairman of the party, added:
Every casted vote in Saarland for the basic income party in March will help to get the attention of the citizens towards the idea of an basic income. In September are the national elections in Germany. It is the great goal of Bündnis Grundeinkommen to get the word of basic income spreading on over 45 million ballots, and we are eager and confident to get the job done.
To date, Bündnis Grundeinkommen has established chapters in 11 of the 16 federal states of Germany, with the other five in progress. Along with establishing chapters in each state, the party must collect 23,000 signatures to be admitted to the national elections. Signatures are being gathered in each state in which Bündnis Grundeinkommen is established.
Reviewed by Genevieve Shanahan and Dawn Howard
Image: Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany; CC BY-NC 2.0 Wolfgang Staudt