Citizen participation

The possibilities for citizen participation result from the Basic Law (Art. 20 para. 2 and Art. 28 para. 1). Accordingly, the principle of representative democracy applies to the Federal Republic of Germany. The formation of the will takes place primarily by elected representatives and not directly by the people. Consequently, the election of municipal parliaments (election of the municipal council and the district council) is the most important instrument with which the people directly exercise state power. Another important opportunity for participation at the municipal level is the direct election of mayors, district councillors and local leaders.

In addition to the possibilities of participation according to the principle of representation, the Rhineland-Palatinate Municipal Code (GemO) contains some other participation instruments, some of which are also open to residents who are not entitled to vote (e.g. minors):

Residents' Assembly: The residents' meeting serves to inform the inhabitants about important matters of the municipality and should be held at least once a year, otherwise as required. This is a simple form of citizen participation.

Citizens' initiative and referendum: The citizens of a municipality can apply for a referendum on an important matter of the municipality by means of a citizens' initiative. In the referendum, the (voting) population thus decides on factual issues itself. The referendum represents the strongest form of citizen participation and breaks through the principle of representation. However, a negative catalogue listed in the GemO excludes certain areas for the referendum.

Furthermore, there are other elements of citizen participation through various rights of consultation, objection and complaint. At the state level, citizens can also exercise their right of petition to the Petitions Committee of the Landtag.


Further information on the topic of citizen participation can be found on the websites of the Association of Municipalities and Cities of Rhineland-Palatinate (GStB) and the Ministry of the Interior and Sport.

  • Association of Municipalities and Towns of Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Ministry of the Interior and Sport

Related Links

  • Art. 20 sec. 2 Basic Law (GG)
  • Art. 28 sec. 1 Basic Law (GG)
  • Municipal Code (GemO)

Responsible for the content
No information available

Last update or date of publication
No information available