Agora ID card

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Name: 

Age:

Date of Birth: 

Place of birth:  

Agora Brussels

3 years old

5/3/2018

Brussels, Belgium

Agora proposes a form of democracy by lot.

More specifically, our objective is to establish and promote the Citizens' Assembly as a more permanent institution that is endowed with legislative powers. The Assembly members are selected as a sample of Brussels residents who are selected by lot.

The project is organised according to three principles: representativeness, participation and deliberation

The project:

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Representation

Deliberation

Participation

Representative

When we talk about representative democracy, we mean two things: (1) Legislative power is delegated to citizens who are selected by lot, and who act as representatives. (2) The citizens are selected to be statistically representative of the population of Brussels.

We work to ensure that the sample is representative according to three criteria - gender, age and education level - as the basis for establishing quotas in the Assembly. Our goal is to replicate in the Assembly the characteristics of the population of Brussels as far as possible. By using quotas and choosing members by lot, it is more likely for a greater range of opinions to be represented in the Assembly as compared to the current Parliament.

We believe representativeness will be effective if we can ensure that every member of the Assembly is able to participate, both by attending and taking the floor. To achieve this, we offer a number of accessibility services such as daycare services, facilitators and translators for the discussions, etc.

Participatory

Current notions of politics revolve around elections, placing the population in the role of spectator who have only limited participation. Our proposal allows citizens to take an active role in the debate and political decision-making process.

We are proposing a Citizens’ Assembly whereby all citizens are eligible to be randomly selected to govern and not just to be governed. Politicising citizens in this way also erases the boundaries between elected officials and the rest of the population, allowing citizens to understand the issues and difficulties that politics deals with.

In this context of participatory democracy, selection by lot makes complete sense.

 

It gives each and every citizen an equal chance of participating in the Citizens’ Assembly.  

Deliberatory

According to our vision of deliberative democracy, the decision-making stage comes after debating different ideas, thereby allowing opinions to be further developed and evolve.

Unlike elected parliamentarians, randomly selected citizens are not obliged to follow a party line. Furthermore, there shouldn't be any space for pre-electoral agreements and coalitions.

The strength of deliberation lies in comparing and contrasting different ideas and allowing the opinions to evolve and develop. Consequently, we will put a number of arrangements in place to avoid any member or members dominating the Assembly discussions.

During the debates, experienced facilitators will take steps to promote active listening in relation to every member´s opinions, to encourage equitable turn-taking, and ensure an appropriate framework for the discussions.