1928 Free City of Danzig MP reduction referendum

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A referendum on reducing the number of MPs was held in the Free City of Danzig on 9 December 1928. Voters were presented with two different proposals on reducing the size of the 120-seat Volkstag and the Senate. Voters were only allowed to vote "yes" to one proposal, but neither received a majority in support. Two years later Volkstag members voted to reduce the size of the body to 72 seats.[1]

Background[edit]

The Free City of Danzig was created as an entity by the Treaty of Versailles. Its constitution came into force on 5 November 1922, and provided for a 120-seat Volkstag and a 22-member Senate, which functioned as the territory's cabinet. It also set out that Danzig City Council was elected by Volkstag members rather than the public.[1]

On 21 September the Volkstag rejected a bill to reduce it in size; despite MPs voting by 72–2 to reduce their number, the quorum of 80 votes was missed. As a result of the vote, two citizen initiatives were started. The initiatives required the signature of at least 10% of voters, which based on there being 214,363 registered voters for the 1927 elections, was 21,437 signatures.[1]

The "People's Will" (Volkswille) initiative collected 28,961 signatures. It proposed a 72-seat Volkstag, which would elect a 12-member Senate with 5 full-time members and 7 part-time members. Danzig City Council would still be elected by the Volkstag, but based on the proportion of votes received in the previous election.[1]

The "Citizen Protection" (Bürgerschutz) initiative gathered 46,219 signatures, and proposed a 61-seat Volkstag, which would elect a 12-member Senate with 5 full-time members and 7 part-time members. It also proposed the direct election of Danzig City Council.[1]

Results[edit]

In order to be ratified, the proposal had to be approved by at least 50% of the number of registered voters in the 1927 elections. Voters could only vote on one of the proposals, and any ballot on which a vote had been cast for both proposals, even if they had votes "yes" to one and "no" to the other, was void.

A total of 73,739 people voted on the Citizens' Protection initiative, whilst 59,442 people voted on the People's Will initiative, with 99% of voters voting for one of the two. Just over 4,000 invalid ballots were cast.[1]

Choice Votes % % of registered
voters in 1927
For People's Will 58,495 43.92 27.29
Against People's Will 947 0.71 0.44
For Citizen's Protection 73,179 54.95 34.14
Against Citizen's Protection 560 0.42 0.26
Invalid/blank votes 4,155
Total 137,336 100
Registered voters/turnout 215,545 63.72
Source: Direct Democracy

References[edit]