[Translate to English:] Foto: Robert Boden / Bürgerrat Demokratie

[Translate to English:] Foto: Robert Boden / Bürgerrat Demokratie

Citizens Assembly: 22 recommendations for policy makers


The Citizens Assembly for Democracy was launched in June this year with six regional conferences. The idea was for interested citizens and politicians to come together and discuss the future of democracy and the challenges it faces.

The citizens assembly met on two weekends in September. 160 randomly selected German citizens took part in the events designed to come up with concrete recommendations to strengthen our democracy. The first weekend focused on concrete, democracy-related issues such as lobbying, transparency and referenda.  During the second weekend the participants focused on the concrete ideas and recommendations that they wanted to present to politicians.

All the participants voted on a 22-point list which sets out how they would like to see the democratic system develop in the future. At the top of the assembly’s wish-list is a call for representative parliamentary democracy to be supplemented by additional elements of citizen participation and/or direct democracy. Indeed, after what participants clearly saw as a positive experience - namely taking part in this citizens' assembly pilot project - there was unanimous agreement on a recommendation for a process whereby, as part of the political system, randomly selected citizens should be brought together to form advisory councils. Other points on the list include: online voting in referenda; and a right of veto, by way of a national referendum, in the legislative process.

This Citizens Assembly for Democracy (Bürgerrat Demokratie), initiated by Mehr Demokratie e.V. and the Schöpflin Foundation, showed that – if we create the right environment - citizens with very differing backgrounds can come together to discuss, in a constructive and intelligent way, complex issues and then produce concrete results.

»While we continue to be concerned about the growing divisions in many places in our society, we have demonstrated, through the Citizens Assembly for Democracy, how constructive dialogue can be achieved. It’s now down to politicians to take citizens seriously and implement their recommendations,« says Tim Göbel, Executive Director of the Schöpflin Foundation.

The recommendations will now be collated in a Citizens Report which will be presented to politicians on 15th November in Berlin.

You can find out more information about the Citizens Assembly and its results at www.buergerrat.de.