Federal territory

Federal territory

Federal territory

Federal territory

- Constitution of Germany

Article 29[New delimitation of the federal territory]

(1) The division of the federal territory into Länder may be revised to ensure that each Land be of a size and capacity to perform its functions effectively. Due regard shall be given in this connection to regional, historical and cultural ties, economic efficiency and the requirements of local and regional planning.

(2) Revisions of the existing division into Länder shall be effected by a federal law, which must be confirmed by referendum. The affected Länder shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard.

(3) The referendum shall be held in the Länder from whose territories or parts of territories a new Land or a Land with redefined boundaries is to be established (affected Länder). The question to be voted on is whether the affected Länder are to remain as they are or whether the new Land or the Land with redefined boundaries should be established. The proposal to establish a new Land or a Land with redefined boundaries shall take effect if the change is approved by a majority in the future territory of such Land and by a major­ity in the territories or parts of territories of an affected Land taken together whose affiliation with a Land is to be changed in the same way. The proposal shall not take effect if, within the territory of any of the affected Länder, a majority reject the change; however, such rejection shall be of no conse­quence if in any part of the territory whose affiliation with the affected Land is to be changed a two-thirds majority approves the change, unless it is rejected by a two-thirds majority in the territory of the affected Land as a whole.

(4) If, in any clearly defined and contiguous residential and economic area located in two or more Länder and having at least one million inhabitants, one tenth of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections petition for the inclusion of that area in a single Land, a federal law shall specify within two years whether the change shall be made in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Article or that an advisory refer­endum shall be held in the affected Länder.

(5) The advisory referendum shall establish whether the changes the law proposes meet with the voters’ approval. The law may put forward not more than two distinct proposals for consideration by the voters. If a majority approves a pro­posed change of the existing division into Länder, a federal law shall specify within two years whether the change shall be made in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Article. If a proposal is approved in accordance with the third and fourth sentences of paragraph (3) of this Article, a federal law providing for establishment of the proposed Land shall be enacted within two years after the advisory ballot, and confirmation by referendum shall no longer be required.

(6) A majority in a referendum or in an advisory referendum shall consist of a majority of the votes cast, provided that it amounts to at least one quarter of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections. Other details concerning referendums, petitions and advisory referendums shall be regulated by a federal law, which may also provide that the same petition may not be filed more than once within a period of five years.

(7) Other changes concerning the territory of the Länder may be effected by agreements between the Länder concerned or by a federal law with the consent of the Bundesrat, if the territory that is to be the subject of the change has no more than 50,000 inhabitants. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat and of a majority of the Members of the Bundestag. The law must provide affected municipalities and counties with an opportunity to be heard.

(8) Länder may revise the division of their existing territory or parts of their territory by agreement without regard to the provisions of paragraphs (2) to (7) of this Article. Affected municipalities and counties shall be afforded an opportu­nity to be heard. The agreement shall require confirmation by referendum in each of the Länder concerned. If the revision affects only part of a Land’s territory, the referen­dum may be confined to the areas affected; the second clause of the fifth sentence shall not apply. In a referendum under this paragraph a majority of the votes cast shall be decisive, provided it amounts to at least one quarter of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections; details shall be regulated by a federal law. The agreement shall require the consent of the Bundestag.


Basic Law of Germany

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