The petition to keep Nuenen independent, has so far been signed by over 600 people. Campaigners want to force Provinciale Staten to restart the discussion about the merger of Nuenen with Eindhoven.
The “burger-initiatief“, a special kind of petition, started early January. The campaigners want to rekindle the political discussion around the Nuenen-Eindhoven merger. They hope to force the topic back on the political agenda, before the March provincial elections.
At the moment, a majority in the Provinciale Staten of Brabant are against the Nuenen-Eindhoven merger. But with elections looming, initiator Henk Daalder fears, election results may change the current situation.
Last month, Provinciale Staten van Noord-Brabant decided against taking a decision on the proposal. New national legislation also makes it a difficult topic. In order to force political parties to start discussing the merger again, at least a thousand signatures are needed.
Burgerinitiatief in the Netherlands
The Netherlands acknowledges the right of an ordinary citizen to start an official petition. At a national level, a citizens’ initiative (burgerinitiatief) must relate to the creation, amendment or abolition of a legal regulation, or other government policy. The proposal must not be contrary to the Constitution, or morality. Unfortunately, the national budget and Dutch taxes are excluded from being the subject of a citizens’ initiative.
A burgerinitiatief is a form of right to petition. Petitions may operate at different political and legislative levels. However, if a petition is started and gets the required number of signatures, campaigners are entitled to an answer.
So a special petition or burgerinitiatief may force a subject on the political agenda. This may for instance be at a municipal or provincial level. Or even in the Tweede Kamer, the Dutch House of Representatives.
A burgerinitiatief is only valid, when it complies with strict rules. For instance, to force the Dutch Tweede Kamer to discuss a topic, Dutch voters need to collect at least 40,000 signatures.
Dutch Provinciale Staten and Gedeputeerde Staten
Since March 2003, Provinciale Staten in the Netherlands are the collective of elected representatives at provincial level. Each Dutch province has its own Provinciale Staten. The main task of this political body is to check daily decisions made by a Province’s Gedeputeerde Staten.
Dutch voters elect members of their Provinciale Staten directly, every four years. The number of members of Provinciale Staten, depends on the number of inhabitants of a province. Noord-Brabant being a booming region, Provinciale Staten van Noord-Brabant number 55 members.
In turn, these directly elected representatives elect from among themselves, members of a province’s Gedeputeerde Staten. Gedeputeerde Staten, also known as the “College van Gedeputeerde Staten” are the administrative body of each of the Dutch provinces. Also known as GS, they are responsible for the daily management of a province.
Source: Studio 040
Provincie Noord-Brabant: Statenleden – your current members of Provinciale Staten
Provincie Noord Brabant: your current GS-members