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Parliamentwatch (abgeordnetenwatch.de) is an Internet portal that allows German citizens to question their representatives in the German parliament (the Bundestag) publicly. The independent, nonpartisan site aims to increase transparency in government and deepen German democracy. Questions and answers are published, as well as the voting records of the deputies. Users of the site can contact representatives of the Bundestag, German deputies of the European Parliament and of the German federal states.
abgeordnetenwatch.de is a non-profit project of Parlamentwatch e.V. and Parlamentwatch GmbH (technical service provider for Parlamentwatch e.V.) in cooperation with Mehr Demokratie e.V. and Mehr Bürgerrechte e.V. and is supported by BonVenture - Fonds und Stiftung für Soziale Verantwortung. The goal is to be financed through fund-raising groups and online advertisements that can be hidden on demand. Additional income comes from selling enhanced profiles to deputies and candidates. Parlamentwatch GmbH is obliged to donate any excess funds to charitable organizations serving the public good. This commitment is defined in the organization's statutes.
All questions are read by a team of moderators to make sure they are within the moderation code, which prohibits insulting statements, incitement, discrimination, questions concerning private life, and requests that are bound to discretion.
Questions that violate the code are not activated and published, but the politician is informed about the incident. Beyond that, the project is strongly committed to neutrality and stays above party politics. In addition to general information about deputies, their voting behavior in issues that attract special public attention is documented.
In average, the website counts 6,800 visitors a day and about three million page impressions per month. More than 80% of all MPs of the federal parliament answer questions through Parliament Watch. In Germany, the project covers the federal parliament, the European parliament, nine state parliaments and 54 parliaments on the communal level. All in all the digital voters' memory counts 143,507 questions and 115,921 answers (as of 31 January 2013).
The project has several partnerships with online outlets of the following media:
Due to abgeordnetenwatch's success in the German Bundestag, fundraising groups were established in August 2007 in order to make the site available for Germany's 16 Landesparlamente ("states"). Donations and sustaining members in each state enable the implementation of the project on the state level; each state's portal is activated once 90 days' advance financing is accrued.
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