Bundestag President: "Citizens' assemblies enable participation"

27. October 2021
Deutscher Bundestag, Janine Schmitz/photothek, Achim Melde

In the constituent session of the German Bundestag on 26 October 2021, both the previous Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble, who left office on that day, and the newly elected Bundestag President Bärbel Bas spoke out in favour of the use of randomly selected citizens' assemblies at the federal level.

"In the last legislative period, the parliament opened itself up to a form of deliberative democracy with a citizens' assembly. This Bundestag would be well advised to take another close look at the advantages, but also the limits, of this kind of citizen participation - especially since citizens' assemblies create a space in which different people come together, get to know each other and need to exchange ideas. Togetherness. We have enough places of isolation," Schäuble said.

Bas: "Seeking dialogue"

Bärbel Bas referred to this in her speech: "Whoever listens with profit, whoever understands what is at stake here in this House, will also seek dialogue. The exchange with us, the elected representatives. Those who realise that we seriously want this exchange will engage with us. They will want to think along with us and argue with us about political decisions. And not immediately shouting, opposing, putting others down.

That is what we need: The invitation to as many people as possible to participate. We have new forms of participation for this: the citizens' assemblies are a format that enables participation. This is how I would like the coming legislative period in the German Bundestag to be: open and lively.

Then not everyone will still agree - of course not! But then we will have a chance to understand politics again as a joint struggle for ways into the future."

More information: