Four citizens' assemblies at a stroke
Since the fourth weekend of January 2020, four national citizens' assemblies have been running in parallel for the first time. In France, UK, Ireland and Scotland, randomly selected citizens deliberate on recommendations to politicians. The citizens' assemblies in France and Scotland have been meeting since October, while the citizens' assemblies in UK and Ireland began their deliberations for the first time on 26 January.
While in France and Great Britain the current focus is on the development of climate protection measures, in Ireland gender justice is on the agenda. In Scotland, everything revolves around the future of the country in general, for example with regard to sustainable economic activity. The citizens' assemblies in France, the UK and Scotland are premieres. Ireland has been experimenting with sortition-based assemblies for several years. The successful practice there was the impetus for the new citizens' assembly. What all these citizens' assemblies have in common is that the participants are a reflection of the respective population in terms of age, gender, education, place of residence and migration background.
There has already been a citizens' assembly in Germany. At the invitation of Mehr Demokratie, the Schöpflin Foundation and the participation experts from IFOK and the Nexus Institute, 160 citizens from all over Germany met in Leipzig in September 2019 to discuss the future of democracy over four days. In the process, they had developed 22 recommendations, which Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble accepted on 15 November 2019 on behalf of the parliament.