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e-Petitioner German Parliament Launch

From left to right second row - Members of the German Bundestag: 
Klaus Hagemann, (SPD), Josef Philip Winkler, (Alliance 90/Green Party),
Klaus Guttmacher, (FDP), Gabriele Lösekrug-Möller, (SPD)
first row - 
Dr. Jim Johnston (Scottish Parliament, Clerk to the Public Petitions Committee),
Prof. Ann Macintosh (ITC, Napier University, Edinburgh),
Dr. Gerhard Rakenius (Directorate, Petitions Committee Service, German Bundestag)

On the Thursday 1st September the German Parliament launches its first "eParliament" system - the e-Petitioner.

The e-petitioner system will provide citizens with a means to voice their concerns through the formal processes of the Bundestag. The e-petitioning model was developed through a close collaboration the International Teledemocracy Centre here at Napier University, BT and the Scottish Parliament. This model is unique in that it is open to any citizen to raise and sign an e-petition, or to add comments to an online discussion if they wish.

e-Petitioner transforms an old style of public petitioning. It overcomes, lack of awareness, illegible signatures, lack of information, lack of debate and lack of feedback and instead provides an open, accountable and deliberative participation process.

In Europe, the success of e-petitioner can be illustrated by its selection as a finalist for an eEurope Award at the Ministerial eGovernment Conference in Manchester in November. Funded by the European Commission the awards recognise innovation and good practice in eGovernment in Europe. The evaluation panel recommended the e-petitions system as follows:

Dr. Jim Johnston (Scottish Parliament, Clerk to the Public Petitions Committee),
Prof. Ann Macintosh (ITC, Napier University, Edinburgh),
Klaus Guttmacher, (Member of the German Bundestag, FDP), 
Gabriele Lösekrug-Möller, (Member of the German Bundestag, SPD)

Professor Ann Macintosh gave a brief talk at the Bundestag on Wednesday about the e-petitioner system. Ahead of her visit she commented:

"I am very pleased that our e-Petitioner system is being adopted by the German Parliament. It will provide German citizens with a means to voice their concerns through the formal processes of the Bundestag. Having worked with The Scottish Parliament to develop the e-petitioning model, it is very exciting to see the concept being accepted by the Bundestag."

Speaking ahead of the launch, Michael McMahon MSP, Convener of the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament said:

"Over the past few years we have enjoyed a close working relationship with our colleagues in the German Bundestag Petitions Committee and we are delighted that they have decided to adopt an e-petitions system based on our own. This is an excellent example of the Parliament's adoption of innovative techniques and modern procedures, having a global impact."

At the launch Mr Klaus Guttmacher, Chairman of the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag said:

"Our "Public Petitions" system has been developed in close collaboration with our friends in Edinburgh on the basis of the Scottish model. We intend to test out this addition to our petitions system in an initial two-year trial. The German Bundestag's online presence will hence be expanded to include the heading "Öffentliche Petition" or "Public Petitions". In contrast to other internet forums the results in this instance will feed directly into the practical work of parliament."

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