Il palazzo del disincanto

The citizens' dissatisfaction with their governments is increasing in all democratic countries. The imperative for the 21st century is to find new ways of thinking governance.
How we know, the democratic process -as it was carried out in Athens- includes two stages. The first stage is that of the public discourse and debate about a issue, that's to say the "deliberation". The second one is the time of the passage of a bill, that's to say the "decision".
These two stages, in the actual representative democracy, take place formally in the Parlamient.
The introduction of a bill, really, is made by a restricted commitee or even by a drafting commitee consisting of experts that are not people's representatives but are councillors selected by the chief of government or by a single minister. So the "deliberation" is always more often subtracted to the parliament that mantain only the power of "decision".
On the other hand, the citizens claim greater power of decision that new technologies (Internet) now allow.
Can the model of "glossed democracy" outlined in the below article be a step forward in comparison with the limits and the forms of actual representative democracy?

Teledemocracy: A possible form of government

by Sergio Vivi

The World is divided in Federations of states, States, Regions and Municipalities on the basis of the Federalism without adjectives. A World government, Federal governments, State governments, County councils and Town councils are constituted. The problem of the world government will not be treated here because it is too early to discuss this issue (Kant has to wait a little more).

The governments of the remaining four levels are elected and constituted -with the appropriate nominalistic modifications (e.g. council instead of government, governor or mayor instead of president)- in the same way, in accordance with the following scheme that outlines some details of the proposed model of teledemocracy. The institutional offices highlighted in jellow are elected by direct and universal suffrage.

Election and voting mechanisms.

A team including a candidate for Vice-president and 9 candidates for Councillors (the ticket) is linked together each candidate for President at the presidential elections at single turn. The candidate with the most votes (FPTP system-First Past the Post) is elected President together his ticket . The second one is elected Opponent (the Leader of the Opposition) together his ticket. With a second ballot paper -containing a different list- the candidate with the most votes is elected Sovereign Interpreter (or better Interpreter of the Sovereign People) together his ticket.

All citizens with right to vote are eligible. Every candidate must register himself in the apposite list via internet, pay a fee equal to 1/24 of his own personal net annual income and collect at least 11 signatures of presentation. The candidates with the most signatures will appear at the top of the list (in alphabetical order in case of parity). A mechanism of primary elections -organized by the Parties- provides to reduce the number of candidates, provided that everybody can offer himself as candidate.

Institutional offices.

The President is the head of state. He chooses and names the Ministers, his Experts, the Judges of Supreme Court and 25% of Glossators. He can remove the Ministers and his Experts. He directs the general politics of the government of wich he is responsable. He coordinates the activity of the Ministers. He is the chief of the armed forces.

The Opponent chooses and names his Experts in the same number as the President and 25% of Glossators. He can remove his Experts. He can ask a vote of no confidence against the President to the Sovereign Interpreter. He can ask the impeachment of the President to the Sovereign Interpreter.

The Sovereign Interpreter presides over the House of Glossators. He chooses and names 50% of Glossators. He determines the political agenda after listening to the President and the Opponent. He promulgates the bills with the amendments passed by the people.
The President and the Opponent are elected for four years, the Sovereign Interpreter for five years.

House of Glossators.

Bills are introduced by the Government, by the Opponent and by the Sovereign People. Each bill is stated by the promoter before the House of Glossators at the presence of the opposite party, in order that the second one can introduce its amendments. In case of emergency the Government can enact a law by decree that have to be passed within sixty days.

The main function of the House of Glossators is to translate the paragraphs of each bill and the related amendments in simple, clear and unequivocal questions, suitable to be submitted to the voters. The questions must reflect the substance and the spirit of the bill. In the case the Glossators judge untranslatable the text of a bill, the Sovereign Interpreter can decide to return the bill to the promoter for the necessary modifications. In the case of equal votes about the formulation of a question, the casting vote of the Sovereign Interpreter settles the matter.

Mechanisms of guarantee

The Opponent can ask the vote of no confidence against the President or the impeachment of the President before the Supreme Court, in conformity with the following diagrams.


1) The proposed form of government carries out the maximum of popular sovereignty and the maximum of access to public offices (everybody, in practice, can offer himself as a candidate).
2) It carries out the maximum of collaboration between political forces (a kind of «two prisoners dilemma» is applied inside the guarantee mechanisms).
3) The majority voting system guarantees stable government and it leads quickly to the two-party system.
4) A third part determines the political agenda and this office can easily remain over the parties.
5) The institution of the House of Glossators -together the fact that bills are drafted by experts- solves the problem of the «degree of competence» of the voters and the problem of the «formulation of the questions». By means of TV and internet it will be possible to endowe citizens with the capacity for «reasoned judgment».
6) The possibility to choose between the paragraphs of a bill and the amendments proposed by the opposition (but also the government could propose its amendments to its bill) prevents a result of voting at zero sum (who wins he wins all, who loses he loses all) and prevents irremediable rifts between the supporters and the opponents of the bill. On the contrary this possibility allowes a certain degree of compromise between divergent concerns.
7) While the most members of parliament are male in the representative democracy, in the direct democracy all males and all women can vote, with the contribution of the sensibility and of the great practical sense of the second ones.
8) The parties, voluntary associations of citizens, will continue to perform their functions that consist in the diffusion of their political and social concepts and in the effort to put into practice these concepts through the partecipation to the public life and through the control of the state.

Bologna, european city of culture for the year 2000 - May 15th, 2000 Translated in English on 28th December, 2000

Anno di pubblicazione: 2001
<-- Italian version

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