Parliament reforms petition law
(CS/jm) Signatures for public petitions can now be collected both online and on paper in a bid to make the system more accessible.
Members of the public in Luxembourg have two ways of officially launching petitions in Luxembourg. The first is the so-called ordinary petition, for which signatures are collected on paper. These can be deposited with the Chamber of Deputies where they can be taken into consideration by MPs, but without any obligation for political decision-makers to do so.
The case is slightly different for public petitions, which are open for signature online. If the latter reach 4,500 signatures, they have to be debated in parliament. However, this does not necessarily mean that the minds of politicians will be changed. Public petitions are not “a magic wand,” said Chamber president Mars Di Bartolomeo, commenting that they were a method to give the public a voice, but adding that they did not award powers of decision-making.
The dual system of ordinary and online public petitions was launched in 2014 and since the coalition government took office, 181 petitions have been launched, of which 159 were public. This compared to 33 petitions for the whole legislative period of the last CSV-LSAP government.
“The numbers show how big the interest is,” said Marco Schank, who chairs a parliamentary committee dedicated to the petitions.
However, there has also been some controversy. For example, an initiative opposed to adoption rights for same-sex couples had tried to force a debate in parliament on the issue through a public petition. Scheduling could have possibly delayed a vote in parliament on the marriage reform bill. However, the petition failed to gather 4,500 signatures. Additional signatures collected on paper were not declared valid.
Combining signatures collected on paper and online will now no longer be an issue, with anyone wishing to collect signature for a public petition on paper able to request the necessary forms with the Chamber of Deputies.
To file or sign a petition, you need to be aged 15 or older and have a Luxembourg social security number. Find out more about filing a petition here or to take a look at the petitions currently open for signature click here.