Between October and December 2010, the first deliberative field experiment in Swiss direct democracy was conducted. The issue of the online experiment was the expulsion initiative („Ausschaffungsinitiative”) of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the counterproposal of the government and parliament. The expulsion initiative was an emotionally charged issue with a populist dimension, and as such perhaps not well suited for reasoned discussion. At the same time, it is precisely this kind of direct democratic vote where deliberation is perhaps most needed.
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a process implemented in the 1990s where residents of certain regions can influence how their governments' annual budgets are allocated. After the collapse of its authoritarian regime in the mid 1980s, Brazilians implemented reforms to bolster their economic and political futures through participatory methods. These new democratic practices drastically improved the lives and social infrastructure of its participants.
Under the slogan “Future Needs Solidarity. Diversity Creates Chances.”, the BürgerForum 2011 did not address any specific problem or problems; it rather allowed participating citizens to identify problems as well as solutions they deem most pressing for German society. The purpose behind this approach is three-fold. Firstly, initiators hoped to inspire citizens to be more excited about politics and democracy and instill a sense of community within participants.
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This case study features Conseils de quarter, or "neighborhood councils," which are infra-municipal participatory forums that serve as consultative bodies mandated by law in French cities with more than 80,000 residents.