miercuri, 17 octombrie 2012

Liquid Democracy

An interesting article on “liquid democracy” was published earlier this year. It explained that one of the political parties in Germany uses an online tool to engage the citizen in the decision making process, consequently activating a liquid democracy system.

Any member using the tool can submit a policy proposal, after which others can amend and revise it. Members also have the possibility to put up counter proposals. In the following weeks people can vote for their favorite proposal.

The voting process is the most interesting part in this process: each member has one vote, but that vote can be given to a so-called ‘representative’. You decide if he/she can use your vote on anything, or just on certain topics or proposals you think are important. You can take your vote back at any moment – holding your ‘representative’ accountable at all times.

This, according to the article, is liquid democracy: a form of democracy that combines direct democracy and representative democracy. You can at any time decide where you want to be – to engage in the decision-making process yourself, or to have somebody else to represent you.

There are limitations as well, for some topics it is just not only a matter of voting for a proposal on the online tool – decisions can also be made at conferences, by an elected group of people, etc. But liquid democracy has also already seen slight success in Germany regarding the EU Data Protection Directive. The most voted proposal was put forward in the Berlin parliament, and although it wasn’t directly successful, an amended proposal was indeed accepted.

Dan LUCA / Brussels

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