Year established: 2004

Website: abgeordnetenwatch.de


The project abgeordnetenwatch.de for citizen participation was launched in 2004. On our website, we allow our users to:

  • question their members of parliament in a public environment
  • find out about the voting record of their members of parliament
  • follow up on promises made since all questions and answers are stored indefinately
  • learn about the extra earnings of members of parliament
Before each election – be it state, federal or European level – we find and include all candidates running for election and create profile pages for them where questions can be asked and the candidate’s answers will be displayed.

No registration is required to pose questions or to use any of the other above mentioned functionalities of our website. We provide our service free of charge for citizens.

Our idea works. Our website receives an average of 6,800 visitors per day and about 3 million page impressions per month. More than 80% of all representatives in the Bundestag reply to questions asked through abgeordnetenwatch.de. In Germany, we cover the federal parliament, 13 out of 16 state parliaments and the European parliament. The corpus of our saved submissions is called the Digital Voters’ Memory and counts 178,825 questions and 143,556 answers as of August 2015.

We were also a key player in founding the Parliamentwatch Network to help establish similar projects abroad. So far, we helped launch projects in France, Ireland, Austria, Luxembourg, Greece and Tunisia. On top of that, we inspire similar projects in other countries such as Malaysia.

We require our partners to be independent and impartial as well as serious about their involvement. To ensure impartiality, we refuse to work directly with political parties or influential individuals in politics.


Abgeordnetenwatch.de was founded in 2004 by Gregor Hackmack and Boris Hekele who met during the student protests of that year in Hamburg, Germany. To improve upon citizen participation for the upcoming elections of Hamburg’s state senate, they launched the first version of the website where citizens were able to publicly ask politicians on matters they regard as important.

Soon after, the idea took off and Abgeordnetenwatch was expanded to include other German state parliaments as well as the federal parliament, the Bundestag.

Over time we developed new ways to evaluate political opinions such as our candidate check where voters can compare their candidates positions to theirs. We established a well-regarded blog in which we write about topics such as lobbying, transparency and democratic values.


Our goals can only be achieved when we are completely independent. Abgeordnetenwatch is financed by donations of its users. Sponsors are solicited. They donate regularly, at least € 5 per month. So far there more than 3,280 regulars, one hopes and works for more.

In addition, candidates may upgrade their profiles to include certain features. In return for a one-time payment up to € 200, candidates can add a picture, CV, political goals and an election campaign calendar to their profile.

These additional features are optional and there is no requirement whatsoever to avail of them. Basic details such as name, party, constituency, professional qualification and current occupation, as well as the interaction with voters, are available as standard and are completely free of charge.

Code of conduct

With the ability for everyone to pose questions directly to politicians there are some aspects that require attention in order for such a service to work. To ensure that, we established a code of conduct which has to be abided by all parties involved in the process.

A question has to be just that, a question, not a statement. It shall contain no insults. Whenever it gives quotes or factual information the sources must be named. There shall be no ridicule of victims of a reign of terror, of racisms, sexism, or political and religious persecution. Questions about the private life are also not allowed. The right to remain silent for professional reasons, i.e. the right of doctors or lawyers not to give information about their clients must be respected. There shall be no mass mails. MPs must not be swamped with the same question. Only one follow up question is allowed. The Reps themselves and their employees may not pose questions to their colleagues.


Boris Hekele



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