New hurdles at the referendum in Berlin

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If you expropriate, then right

Delay tactics of the Senate

Why not put a law to vote yourself?

A speculation

Berlin. photo: Rene Staffeldt

One initiative is serious about the slogan “We buy the city back” and some already sense socialism

“How Berlin is putting an end to the madness in renting. Forever.” With this slogan the initiative advertises “Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co” on their website for their referendum. The slogan is populist in the classic sense. First of all, an implementation would put a lot of money into the coffers of the Dax group German living do the washing up. Because what is called “expropriation” for the left-wing clientele is actually a buyback.

The ideas of the initiators of the referendum and the lawyers, who are exploring what is possible within the framework of the constitution under which the action is running, diverge about the amount of money that the group would then collect. But one thing is already clear: it won’t be cheap.

Some tenant initiatives say that if they expropriate, they do it right and believe that Deutsche Wohnen has already made enough profit from the rents. Therefore, the apartments should not be bought back expensive, but really expropriated. But that should raise constitutional questions.

Deutsche Wohnen is meanwhile trying to drive the price up and is going on a shopping tour on the Berlin real estate market. She recently acquired 23 houses. Many of the residents there immediately took the initiative “23 houses say no” organized and demand that the districts exercise their right of first refusal and buy the houses yourself.

Meanwhile, the Senate has been examining the legality of the referendum for almost a year. Critics speak of a delay tactic. Because in time the procedure of the referendum is practically closed. It is hoped that a movement will be demobilized, which in the first phase managed to collect significantly more signatures than necessary in a short period of time. Because, if the “expropriation” is also a buyback, the fact that living space should be taken out of profit convinces many people in Berlin.

Without the pressure of the referendum, the rent cover would probably never have existed. The SPD was primarily behind the idea that if the rent is capped, the electorate will no longer vote for the buyback. Leading SPD politicians in particular have clearly positioned themselves against part of their own base against the referendum. For the comrade comrades, the word “expropriation” sounds too much like socialism.

New legal hurdles are now coming from the house of the SPD senator. The legal opinion is represented there that a referendum cannot ask the Senate to enact laws. But that is the content of the current referendum. No specific legal text is put to the vote there, but the Senate is asked to pass a law. The initiators of emphasize that this legal view would also have consequences beyond the current referendum Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co.:

According to this legal opinion, the common practice of the “House of Representatives, the Bundestag and all other state parliaments would be illegal.

The initiative also points to one Expert opinion of the scientific service of the Bundestag, which concludes that referendums may well ask governments to pass a law. However, the press release also states that the interior senate only proposed small changes in the text of the referendum to the organizers in order to make it legally compliant.

The initiative wants to get advice on how to deal with the proposal. However, the question remains as to why the initiative does not put its own legislative proposal to the vote, which, if adopted, will have legal force. Then you could cover the amount of compensation.

With the mandate to the Senate, you recognize him and give him powers. Especially since he can continue to reformulate and water down the text. Conflicts are already inevitable.

This current dispute over the referendum shows once again how some state apparatus and media are already creating socialism when tenant initiatives want to buy back the city, which has largely been sold for the past 20 years.
(Peter Nowak)

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