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Austrians ready for real direct democracy

Austrians ready for real direct democracy

20-01-2013

Vienna, 20 January 2013: Today 60% of Austrian voters opted for maintaining the current system of military conscription and a mandatory civilian service in Austria. The turnout was high at 50 %. Initiated by the Austrian Government and adopted by the parliament, the result of the people’s consultation is non-binding.

“The intense debate in Austria ahead of the consultation and the high turnout show that Austrians are mature to vote directly on political issues. Now binding and citizen-initiated referenda must become the default of direct democracy in Austria”, demands Erwin Mayer, Austrian board member of Democracy International. 

Austria’s People’s Party (ÖVP) and Socialist Party (SPÖ) – in power since December 2008 – had put the decision on Austria’s military future to the people as both parties were fundamentally blocked in this subject matter. Today’s result of maintaining military conscription is a success for the People’s Party that had propagated to keep the current system. 

“Today’s result kicks off a campaign for real direct democracy in Austria, says Erwin Mayer who also heads the organisation mehr demokratie! österreich (More Democracy Austria!). Our goal is that citizens will be able to put issues on the political agenda and to vote on them directly. That will correct the weaknesses of the representative political system”, Erwin Mayer concludes his remarks. 

Democracy International together with mehr demokratie! österreich and Mehr Demokratie Germany have monitored the referendum on military conscription in Austria. The three organisations that advocate more direct democacy in Austria, Germany and the world will present the results of the report at a press conference, to take place in Vienna tomorrow, 22 January 2013 (Café Prückel, Stubenring 24, 1010 Vienna).  

Press contact: Cora Pfafferott, Tel: +49 176 954 373 79 (GSM)

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