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Against elections? Democratic innovation and renewal

23 October 2014
Against elections? Democratic innovation and renewal

Have we become electoral fundamentalists?

In a Policy Network feature, David Van Reybrouck, author of Against Elections, contests the idea that ‘democracy’ is synonymous with ‘elections’.

Van Reybrouck argues that our democratic institutions haven’t been updated since the late 18th century, and are in desperate need of renewal to reflect the horizontal power relationships of today’s hyper-connected, interactive society. 

A bi-representative system, combining elections with the democratic principle of sortition, or drawing of lots, could steer democracy into smoother waters.

Peter Stone of Trinity College Dublin stresses this point. He argues that introducing lotteries of randomly selected citizens could prevent special interests from dominating the political process, and enhance its democratic legitimacy.
 

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