04 May Traditional models of representative politics feel increasingly out of touch – but there are pioneering innovations in digital democracy taking place across Europe and beyond
Democratic institutions today look much as they have done for decades, if not centuries.
The Houses of Parliament, the US Congress, and some of the West’s oldest parliaments are largely untouched by successive waves of new technology.
At the same time, almost every other sphere of life – finance, tourism, shopping, work and our social relationships – has been dramatically transformed by the rise of new information and communication tools.
Many argue that this gap between the way in which citizens go about their daily lives and the way in which politics and democracy are carried out, is one of the factors that has contributed to the declining trust and confidence in democratic institutions.
Could digital technologies be the answer? The advocates certainly claim that digital democracy can achieve broader and deeper participation and that it can contribute to a richer public sphere for argument and debate.
Over the last two decades, there have been thousands of experiments, but so far, the reality has not lived up to the early hopes and expectations.