A triumph for grassroots democracy – but also a defeat
A parliamentary milestone of sorts occurred today when the first citizen-driven bill was debated in the Danish Folketinget.
The bill came before Parliament because over 53,000 people signed an open electronic petition on the Borgerforslag.dk website. The threshold is 50,000, and in this case it was reached in around 14 days, reports TV2 Nyheder.
The site was recently in the news because of another citizen-driven petition to ban circumcision for boys under 18.
“The whole purpose of education is to enable you to reach new conclusions and become smarter. We hope that politicians will recognise this and that they will also get smart,” said Sana Mahin Doost from the Danish student council Danske Studerendes Fællesråd.
Knocked out of court
Unfortunately for the sponsors of the bill, the majority of MPs had already decided to vote it down.
The petition was started by school and student bodies opposed to the government’s restriction on the right to take more than one higher educational course of the same, or at a lower level, of those that came into force in 2016.
This measure was imposed in order to raise around 300 million kroner for the benefits system.
MPs have pointed out that in the proposed bill there is no suggestion where the money should come from if the restrictions were to be rescinded.