Digital decision-making: “3D” in the spotlight
Democratie.Nu is a Belgian democracy group, working on integrating digital technologies in democratic decision-making. In the recent Belgian municipal elections of October 2012, the organization set “3D” on the Belgian voting lists, an innovative approach to combine direct with representative democracy in the digital age. We have asked the activists behind Democratie.Nu (Paul Nollen, Marc Janssens, Bert Penninckx and Alexandre Zenon) to explain to us their special approach.
What is the main idea of the "3D" project?
The main idea of 3D (Digital Direct Democracy) is to use the extraordinary possibilities of the digital technology in all its aspects. 3D is not limited to a political programme. We define democracy as the "legislative power of the citizens". In particular we want to introduce the "democratic experiment" as developed by demoex Sweden. As part of this project citizens can determine how the representative votes on certain issues.
In Germany there is a lot of talk about liquid feedback as new software to allow direct decision-making. What does the software of "3D" have in common with liquid feedback?
Liquid feedback has two main applications:
The first application is a system that is able to manage propositions by citizens and to rank these propositions. Liquid feedback operates with the Condorcet Schulze system. We are using the same system but our software is more user-friendly. We are now working with the Pirates to improve the "liquid feedback" system.
The other application is "liquid democracy" which enables citizens to freely delegate when they want and who they want. These two option are included in our software but we have only single delegation, which means that the delegate cannot delegate somebody else. Of course these systems (liquid feedback with liquid democracy) can be implemented everywhere, not only in political applications.
Which goals does democratia.nu have in terms of realising more democracy at transnational level? What is your vision of democracy in practice in the EU?
We believe that democracy begins at local and national level. For us the EU is not a real democracy because citizens did not have the possibility to give their sovereignty to the EU. To make the EU democratic, there should be direct democracy in forms of referenda. Democratie.Nu strives to bring direct democracy at the EU level. But our priority remains at the municipal and national level.
Interview by Cora Pfafferott & Ronald Pabst