Survey confirms: More participation and direct democracy help against disenchantment with politics

A majority of Germans are dissatisfied with the state of democracy. This has just been confirmed again by a study of the initiative "More in Common". According to the study, 82 percent have the impression that they are not being listened to politically. The Citizens' Assembly on Democracy - consisting of 160 people randomly selected from the population registers - recently presented 22 concrete demands to Bundestag President Schäuble to change this. At the core is the idea of supplementing parliamentary democracy with citizen participation and direct democratic voting. The best way to do this would be through a combination of sortition-based citizens' assemblies and referendums on the federal level.

But would this help to reduce disenchantment with politics? A representative survey on the recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly argues in favour:

Read the survey (PDF)

According to the CIVEY survey. 70.3 percent of the participants are in favour of parliamentary democracy in Germany being supplemented by more opportunities for citizens to participate. 71.3 percent believe that more opportunities for participation would strengthen trust in democracy. 70.6 percent believe that this would also increase interest in politics.

64.1 per cent are in favour of the introduction of citizens' assemblies, which work out solutions to controversial political issues for politicians. 56.7 percent of the survey participants believe that democracy would be strengthened by nationwide referendums. 66.9 percent are in favour of a popular objection, i.e. the possibility of stopping draft laws by referendum. 52.9 per cent of those surveyed think that organised citizens' assemblies should formulate questions and prepare arguments before votes. 84.6 per cent of respondents are in favour of a lobby register listing all interest groups and associations.

All survey results

In September 2019, the 160 members of the Citizens' Assembly on Democracy had formulated 22 recommendations for improving democracy in Germany. These include the introduction of nationwide referendums and citizens' assemblies. The idea of combining citizen participation and direct democracy met with particularly strong approval. As with the Citizens' Assembly on Democracy, the members of citizens' assemblies should be selected at random from the population and should be as representative of society as possible. Referendums should always be preceded by a citizens' assembly to prepare the questions and gather information for the voters.

In the Citizens' Assembly on Democracy, which is unique in Germany, municipalities of different sizes were drawn at random and the participants in the Citizens' Assembly were randomly selected from their population registers.