From: Filia den Hollander <>
Date: Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:24 pm
To: Democracy Europe <>
Subject: FW to d-europe: A French evaluation of Ségolène Royal's efforts [Fwd: on participatory democracy]


I'm good at working behind the scenes, n'est ce pas ? ;-)



------ Forwarded Message
From: Miroslav Kolar
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 01:36:31 -0800
Subject: [WDDM] A French evaluation of Ségolène Royal's efforts [Fwd: on participatory democracy]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: on participatory democracy
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 01:50:49 +0100
From: Albano Cordeiro <>

Comment from Albano Cordeiro (Paris)

Dear Sir,

Filia has sent me your message.

In fact, I defend a deliberative and participatory democracy in my writings (even they are very few, I guess).

What I can say about Segolene's propositions is that they are not in favour of a _real_ participatory democracy. But - but we can be grateful for the fact that her proposition, the one concerning "Citizen Juries", has given the opportunity for a debate. A debate not so large : only some few articles in the press and medias, sometimes in television debates, where generally big confusion in concepts is present.

There are at least two ways of raising this question. Some starts from an established fact that representative democracy presents nowadays a deficit of legitimacy. This balance of the relations between elected people and citizens introduces propositions in order TO SAVE representative democracy from an announced wreckage or simply from a dangerous situation of lack of credibility towards people who trust less and less in candidates and programs.

A second aspect is that the defense of participatory democracy has two aspects: one concerns the deliberative process and the other, the control of the application of the norms by the elected people and the way a program is carried out.

The proposition of Segolène Royal is about Citizen Juries. The citizens members of these juries are chosen by draw lots ("tirage au sort" in French) from electoral lists. By this way foreign residents are excluded of the operation: they cannot be members of these juries. The aim is to follow the activity of elected people, and, if necessary, to decide sanctions against them if they don't respect norms and program (probably also in ethical matters, can we imagine)

The proposition of Segolène Royal has then a relationship with the efforts of some political parties to give a new credibility to representative democracy, by one side and by other side, it is a form of control of the activity of elected people.

It is not a proposition on real participatory democracy, in which the citizens intervene in the deliberative process of laws, by one side, and control their application and the program announced by the executive power by different institutions plunged in civil society.

The Segolène's proposition belongs also to counterpower ("contre-pouvoir" in French) approach. This means that these juries must await a grave fault coming from elected people, and ONLY THEN they can express their disapproval and produce sanctions - after the facts in cause

For us, the participatory democracy must be different of the one many people talk about. These people mean consultative institutions, which can have a role in deliberative process, but have no power to write legislative propositions. The network of consultative institutions, even big, doesn't change the nature of representative democracy

(We cannot develop this point now, but it needs more explanation)

For us, the aim must be to combine participatory democracy and representative democracy. This last one must continue to be submitted to universal suffrage, and the elected people, at different levels (region, province, country), must be the last authority ("instance" in French) to say that the GENERAL INTEREST is respected, after the itinerary of construction of a proposition of law (from bottom to the final synthesis) is finished. The function is to be a referee.

But, I insist that the proposition of Segolène Royal has the merit of launching a debate on these matters.

Best greetings

Albano Cordeiro


op 15-11-2006 10:20 schreef Miroslav Kolar:

I heard here in Canada interesting report about Ségolène Royal the top candidate to the French Socialist Party nomination for the French presidential election in 2007.

It was claimed that she supports participatory democracy and wants to use Citizen Juries if elected French president.

I actually found a similar online news item:

Her site "Desires for the future" apparently practising participatory democracy (citizens debates on various subjects) can be found here:

How serious progress toward DD is this?

Can any observers closer to France report something on it?