The handout "Citizens' Assemblies as a Contemporary Complement to Representative Democracy" explains why sortition-based citizens' assemblies are a useful complement to representative democracy. It also makes recommendations to politicians on the introduction of sortition-based citizens' assemblies at the federal level. The basic assumption here is that the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany has only been minimally changed since the 1970s and needs to be adapted in view of major processes of social change. A stronger exchange of political institutions with the population and new forms for this are necessary.
The handout recommends that an organisational unit for participatory democracy be set up at the Bundestag. Both politics and civil society should be able to initiate citizens' assemblies. The topic should be politically relevant and explosive and offer diverse possibilities for action. In addition, suggestions are made on the sortition procedure, moderation, input from experts, the establishment and coordination of citizens' assemblies and their evaluation. There are also tips on how to deal with the results of citizens' assemblies, how to make the use of this democratic instrument more permanent and how to embed it in parliamentary procedures.
The handout was prepared by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam and the Institute for Democracy and Participation Research (IDPF) at the University of Wuppertal.