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Leipzig, a large city in Eastern Germany, has voted in a referendum to forbid the city council from privatizing all essential services including the planned privatization of the municipal energy supplier.

The referendum was initiated by a coalition, including unions and Attac Leipzig, part of a taxation movement. The new left party and the greens also supported it.

“The citizens have stopped the privatisation against the will of the city’s mayor,” reports Attac Germany’s international working group. “It was the first referendum in the city’s history.”

Nearly 150,000 voted and 87.4 per cent rejected privatisation of public services. Thirty-five per cent of all registered voters supported the referendum, Attac Germany said. For a referendum to succeed, it requires not only a majority of the participants but that the majority equals at least 25 per cent of all registered voters.

Attac was founded in 1998 and its first concrete proposal was the taxation of financial transactions (e.g., the Tobin Tax) to create a development fund and to help curb stock market speculation. This is what gave Attac its name: the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions to Aid Citizens.

For more on ATTAC, visit http://www.attac.org