Promoting democracy

An international exploration of policy and implementation practice


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The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Department of Constitutional Matters and Legislation

Eva Wisse Democracy Programme
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The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Department of Communications and Public information
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Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties Department of Communications and Public Information



Acknowledgements Summary I Introduction Terms of reference Working method and explanation Structure II Policy practices per country Australia Introduction 1 Civics and Citizenship 2 Teaching in the Primary school Canada Introduction 3 The Democracy Canada Institute 4 The Parliamentary Center 5 Elections Canada 6 Canada World Youth United States Introduction 7 Center for Civic Education 8 American Democracy Project 9 Youth’ 10 The Kettering Foundation More projects Denmark and Norway Introduction 11 Brevstemmeafgivning 12 The Youth Parliament 2005

7 9 11 11 11 14 15 15 15 15 18 21 21 21 21 22 22 25 25 26 26 27 28 29 31 31 31 32


Germany Introduction 13 Modern State, Modern Administration 14 E-democracy, Call Centre and Open House 15 Bundesnetzwerk über Burgerschaftliches Engagement 16 Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung 17 Werkstatt für Demokratie 18 Workshop for journalists Sweden Introduction The programmes 19 Elections Act 20 Time for Democracy 21 Political representatives 22 Participation between elections 23 Equal Participation Finland 24 Citizen Participation Programme 25 Hear The Citizens – Draft Wisely 26 Citizenship education 27 Social activity 28 Representative democracy United Kingdom Introduction 29 The Electoral Commission 30 Gender and Political Participation 31 Securing the Vote 32 Youth Voting Network 33 Institute for Citizenship 34 Citizenship foundation 35 The funding of political parties 36 Conclusion: the plans up to 2009 Austria Introduction 37 Politische Bildung 38 E-Government and cyberdemocracy

35 35 35 35 36 37 37 38 39 39 39 40 40 41 43 45 49 49 51 52 52 53 55 55 55 56 57 57 59 62 63 64 65 65 65 66

Switzerland 39 Size and Democracy Italy Introduction 40 Art. 118.4 of the Constitution 41 Cittadinanzattiva South Korea Introduction 42 Participating in political parties 43 Removing obstacles that reduce access to politics 44 Reducing exclusion: integration and inclusivity 45 Transparent politics Spain Introduction 46 Hablamos De Europa 47 EMSI Portugal Introduction 48 Young People’s Parliament Japan Introduction 49 Towards a Cohesive Society, 2001 50 Youth Development Plan 51 Save and Peaceful National Life New Zealand Introduction 52 Young people - Hands Up! – Teacher resource - Wallace Awards - Youth Law sponsorship 53 Journalists 54 Education and information for everyone

69 69 73 73 73 74 75 75 75 76 76 77 79 79 79 79 81 81 81 83 83 83 83 84 85 85 85 85 86 86 86 86


Belgium 55 Introduction: King Baudouin Foundation 56 Media 57 Democracy Portal 58 Voluntary work III Analysis A Introduction B Democratic Structure - Introduction - Analysis of policy practices - Conclusions with regard to democratic structure C Political Representation - Introduction - Analysis of policy practices - Conclusions with regard to political representation D Civil Society - Introduction - Analysis of policy practices - Conclusions with regard to civil society E Citizenship - Introduction - Analysis of policy practices - Conclusions with regard to citizenship IV Conclusions

89 89 89 90 91 93 93 93 93 94 96 97 97 98 100 101 101 101 103 104 104 105 107 109



I would like to thank all those who assisted in this study. The Dutch embassies in the eighteen countries made a major contribution to this analysis. Their employees gave tips about useful websites and the right people to contact at the various government bodies. Employees in other embassies contacted the relevant persons themselves, which considerably simplified the process of finding the right information. But the overwhelming majority of the embassies supported the study in an even more intensive manner and went looking for the information themselves, maintaining contact with the researcher and the relevant contact persons in the country to be studied. In a number of the countries studied, members of the Public Governance Committee of the OECD who came from the countries in question were contacted. Ms Hvas and Mr Christensen in Denmark, Ms Santi in Canada, Ms Tacy in Australia, Mr Moog and Ms Brevern in Germany, Mr Dahlberg in Sweden, Ms Schollum and Mr Northcote in New Zealand and Ms Cohen in the United States helped with the study by contacting others and looking for the requested information. I am very grateful to them, as well as to Mr Koos Roest who asked the aforementioned colleagues to give their assistance to the study. During the investigation into the various countries, the employees of the Dutch Centre for Political Participation (IPP) were contacted on a number of occasions and made their network available. Much of the information from social organisations in the respective countries was obtained as a result of contact with the IPP. There were also many colleagues abroad who willingly made their information available for the study. These include employees of IDEA (international), Cittadinanzattiva and Lega Nord in Italy, the Danish Parliament, the Australian Public Service Commission in Australia and the Electoral Commission in Great Britain. I would also like to thank all those persons at ministries abroad, social organisations abroad and at the Dutch embassies who have not been named above but who did contribute to the study. Almost everyone approached for the study was prepared to free up time in often very busy schedules to help complete this study. This has been a very pleasant surprise.

Eva Wisse January 2006



This study deals with policy (programmes) and legislation aimed at promoting constitutional democracy. This study is based on two questions. Firstly: ‘what is needed to make a democracy robust and sustainable?’ and secondly: ‘what solutions found by other countries may also prove to be solutions for the Netherlands?’ Section II looks at the policy practices which have been or will be initiated in eighteen countries. This gives an overview of 58 (policy) practices which are all geared towards a specific problem which is being experienced not only in the Netherlands but also in the other thriving, more established democracies. This problem relates to the decreasing involvement of citizens in politics and society and declining confidence in public and political institutions. This problem is often referred to as ‘the gap between citizens and their government’ or ‘the gap between voters and elected representatives’. Information from the eighteen countries offers an overview of policy programmes to promote democracy in these countries. Various practices focus on strengthening the government, the political party or the elected representatives of the people. Other practices are more geared towards improving the interaction between the government and society. Finally, there are also practices which are aimed purely at the citizen and strive to turn him or her into a socially and politically involved citizen. Such a citizen can actively contribute to reducing the so-called gap. All practices are aimed at increasing the efficiency and sustainability of democracy, but it is of course difficult to say whether this actually happens. Section III attempts to assess the usefulness of each practice for the Netherlands, with the caveat, however, that it is not possible to make hard and fast judgements about the anticipated success of such practices in the Netherlands on the basis of this study. A general conclusion is that the study supports the assumption that a sustainable and robust democracy is a ‘long-term affair’ and requires positive incentives at various points in society. Furthermore, policy aimed at promoting democracy often targets children and young people in particular. In addition to the various initiatives that focus on children in general, such as a youth council or a youth parliament, education is in many countries a key instrument for preparing all citizens for their democratic tasks. Since democracy is, in various countries, regarded as something that takes time to become sustainable, it is not surprising that so much attention is focused


on education. As part of ‘lifelong learning’, in some countries all (secondary) schools are equipped with a teaching package for citizenship education and/or political education. Finally, most countries have a different focus to the Netherlands. In many other countries, the emphasis is placed heavily on society and the citizen. It appears that other countries act in another way to promote democratic citizenship. The concept of strengthening the democratic structure does recur on a regular basis, but only a few countries see this as the only subject of policy in relation to promoting democracy. Usually, attempts are made to strengthen democracy ‘from the bottom up’, by means of close cooperation with civil society organisations which also have the aim of promoting democracy.




In order to develop the Democracy programme, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations needed a picture of the current situation in the other OECD countries. The Democracy programme has the aim of establishing and implementing a coherent programme based on the theme “Living Democracy”. The idea behind this international study is that by exploring the activities in other countries, we can formulate answers to a number of open questions within the Democracy Programme. One of the questions is what is needed to make a democracy robust and sustainable. This investigation into the activities in other countries in the area of ‘living democracy’, the democracy of the citizen, offers the Netherlands insight into the various possibilities and the opportunity to learn from other countries’ experiences. The study not only discusses all kinds of creative and well thought-out foreign initiatives, but also offers insight into what is possible and impossible in relation to democracy in general.

Terms of reference
This study deals with (policy) programmes and legislation aimed at promoting the democratic constitutional state in other countries with a democratic tradition. The point of departure is that the problems in our democracy are not unique and that other (comparable) countries have experience and knowledge in this area. In other words, we can learn from and be inspired by the experiences of other countries. Furthermore, this study also fits in with a modern approach to policy development. Working method and explanation The study was carried out in four phases. Phase 1 involved placing the subject to be investigated within a framework. The two questions underlying the study are ‘what is needed to make a democracy robust and sustainable?’ and ‘ what solutions found by other countries may also prove to be solutions for the Netherlands?’. Eighteen countries were studied, with the same question being asked of each, namely ‘what is your country doing to make your democracy robust?’. The countries are all OECD countries. They correspond to the Netherlands in two ways which are of importance for this study. Firstly, they are wealthy, and secondly, they have been democracies for a long time. These two factors ensure that there is some similarity


with the Netherlands, which means that it is reasonable to assume that the Netherlands can learn from the countries in question how to promote constitutional democracy. The following countries were studied: Australia; Canada; the United States; Denmark; Norway; Germany; Sweden; Finland; the United Kingdom; Austria; Switzerland; Italy; Spain; South Korea; Portugal; Japan; New Zealand; and Belgium. The order in which the countries were studied does have some significance. It was expected that the first category (up to Sweden) would provide the most relevant and interesting practices. These are all countries which have a long democratic history, are wealthy and have a highly developed public administration. It has been assumed that these countries are very similar to the Netherlands, which may increase the possibility of good, suitable examples of policy. The other countries were added because, on the one hand, they have certain similarities with the Netherlands, but on the other, they deviate in the area of political culture, the age of the democracy or the proportion of direct and indirect democratic instruments available to the citizen. This study is based on a number of basic assumptions about the problems in the various countries. The literature scan carried out prior to this study and informal contact with OECD representatives indicated that many countries, like the Netherlands, are experiencing a decline in political participation by citizens, decreasing involvement in social problems and reduced levels of confidence in the public administration. This set of problems was the link between all the policy practices and also links the foreign solutions to the problems in the Netherlands. In each country, at least two of the three sources were used. The three sources were the Dutch embassies in the relevant countries, the members of the Public Governance Committee of the OECD who came from the countries in question, and social organisations belonging to the network of the Dutch Centre for Political Participation (IPP). The (policy) practices therefore consist not only of government programmes, but also of projects carried out by non-governmental organisations. In many cases, however, there is a substantial collaborative arrangement between the relevant ministry and the non-governmental organisation. A final important additional source was the internet, with most of the relevant information being found on the government websites. Phase 2 involved the actual start of the study. Letters were sent to the contact persons (by email). In some cases the request was specified in greater detail in response to a question from a contact person. In a few cases, the embassy found a contact person at one of the ministries, but most of the embassies went looking for the requested information themselves. In some cases, the relevant employees


at the embassy replied that the country did not fulfil the criteria (established, thriving democracy), but the other sources nevertheless always led to the requested information. It proved to be the case that attempts to promote democracy were being made in all the countries. The process of sorting through the information also led to a selection of practices, on average just over three per country. This information related to legislation, national policy, academic documents (often evaluations of policy), government publications, publications of non-governmental organisations and, finally, websites. During the selection process the initial question was always taken into account, to exclude the risk that different countries would react on the basis of different presuppositions about the requested information. To ensure the accuracy of the method, it was very important that the Dutch problem be clearly highlighted. In the question sent to the contact persons, reference points were given only for the problem on which the practices had to be based, no examples were given as these would have determined the outcomes. The question that was sent to all the contact persons was the following (a quotation from the standard email, with the name of the country being entered in the blank spaces): “For …. , the question is what the government is doing to get citizens more involved in politics and the government. Various sources have indicated that the Netherlands, … and also the other wealthy, more established democracies are struggling with a similar problem. This problem relates to the decline in civic participation and social cohesion, reduced involvement and confidence in politics and the greater distance between politics and citizens that have developed over a number of decades. This all ultimately leads to the question of what the Netherlands can learn from the practices of other governments, aimed at promoting democracy. ” Phase 3 involved analysing the information or practices received and classifying these. The analysis led to the division of the 58 (policy) practices into four clusters, which also represent four domains in democracy. The four clusters are a source of both problems and solutions. The relevant literature is briefly explained for each of the four clusters, before the policy practices are analysed. The policy practices are then considered in the light of the theory. The study was completed and the conclusions drawn up in phase 4. This study does not lend itself to judgements about the chances of success for the policy practices in the Netherlands. It is however possible to focus on the relationship with the context of the policy and how much impact a specific p0olicy practice has.


The evaluations of the relevant ministry are also important for assessing the policy practices. If something does not work abroad this does not mean that the policy practice provides useless information, instead it indicates what can be expected with a similar approach in the Netherlands. ‘Worst practices’ may indeed be even more useful than the ‘best practices’ from the study, since ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed’.

After the introduction in section I, section II deals with the results from the country studies. The countries are dealt with in succession, with the (policy) practices set up in that country to promote democracy. The policy practices are numbered from 1 to 58. This means that when reading section III, which contains the analysis in which the practices are divided into four clusters, the reader can easily locate the policy practice in section II. Section III contains the four clusters which were highlighted by the study. This classification was chosen so that a distinction could be made between the level of the state (Democratic Structure (III-B) and Political Representation (III-C)) and society (Civil Society (III-D) and Citizenship (III-E)). Section III also attempts to answer the principal questions of the study. These are as follows: ‘what is needed to make a democracy robust and sustainable?’ and ‘what solutions found by other countries may also prove to be solutions for the Netherlands?’. Each cluster is dealt with in the same way, namely with a theoretical introduction followed by an analysis of the practices falling under the cluster and finally an interim conclusion. Section IV contains the conclusions.



Policy practices per country


The information about Australia given below was obtained from the following sources1: a member of the Public Governance Committee of the OECD, the Dutch Embassy and websites of the Australian government. All this ultimately led to a great deal of information, with the project Discovering Democracy of the ‘New South Wales Discovering Democracy Professional Development Committee’ offering the most useful material. The discussion papers about citizenship education offer insight into the Australian government’s approach in this area. Practice 1 is about citizenship education in general, while practice 2 focuses more on primary education.


‘Discovering democracy’; civics and citizenship education: an Australian Perspective
Education is regarded as an important means of promoting democratic citizenship in Australia. Civics education has been very important for a long time, with the first five decades of the Commonwealth being the most important period. It helped students and pupils to think about what it meant to be an Australian. Formal civics education declined as a result of the arrival of social studies as part of the curriculum. The social revolution of the 1960s also played a role. Prosperity and new values made an appearance. People started to think differently about citizenship, as well as about democracy and national identity. Nevertheless, renewed attention was paid to citizenship education in the 1980s and 1990s. ‘Education for active citizenship’ (1989) and ‘Active citizenship revisited’ (1991) were policy programmes of the government which revived social discussion about this topic. A discussion paper2 investigated how citizenship could be developed and encouraged. It was however difficult to generate support in the educational sector. Halfway through the 1990s it became clear, however, that young people were largely ignorant of, and showed little interest in their role as citizens. Australia is part of a


worldwide phenomenon where people are once again asking the fundamental question of what it means to be a citizen. Citizenship is under discussion in other established democracies too. The federal government’s Civics Group (CEG) was given the task of dealing with this problem. The report3 put citizenship on the map in the educational sector as well. Increasing importance was also attached to the topic in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, France and other countries as well. Accordingly, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) was founded. The debate was significantly boosted by the Keating government and his initiative in respect of a new identity for Australians. It was seen as necessary for Australians to be aware of their own government system as a step towards independence. Australia was to become a republic and the whole nation would have to support this, according to the government this could be achieved by citizens assuming a new identity and becoming aware of their citizenship. This campaign was targeted at young Australians in particular, because they were in favour of the formation of a republic. There was very broad consensus that it was right to educate young people to become involved citizens by, among other things, teaching school pupils about the history of the constitutional democracy. The federal government allocated a large amount of money to implement the recommendations from the report. Teachers’ skills and knowledge had to be developed, as well as the teaching material. In 1996, the government was replaced by a conservative coalition. This meant that citizenship initiatives were put on hold at the federal level, with the majority of states adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude. The question of citizenship education has however been an important topic at various levels of society since the 1990s and will therefore also gain a place in Australian education. Discovering Democracy is an adapted version of the policy by the new cabinet and replaces CEG(1994). More importance is now attached to teaching history as the most important cornerstone of the educational programme. Democratic values and the constitutional state are also discussed in the teaching material. The most important elements of Discovering Democracy are: - the development of sufficient curriculum material for social and citizenship education for all Australian schools; - professional development of teachers to enable them to communicate the teaching material; - the installation of the Civics Expert Group which controls, supervises and directs the process from within the federal government.






Ev a l u a t i o n : After the first three years of Discovering Democracy, the federal government decided to continue for a further three years (2000-2003). It is not yet possible to assess whether the project has been successful based on the first three years. Teaching material was distributed to 10,000 Australian schools in 1997 and 1998 already. The reactions to the sources of the teaching material were positive in the various states, but applying the material effectively in classes has been somewhat problematic. An early evaluation showed that the material was being introduced in schools slowly and to a limited extent. Some history teachers were not very positive about the material (according to Dickson, 19984) because it was seen as too great an interference, teachers had their own opinions about what teaching material should look like. Adjustments (extensive professional development and the production of sources to support teachers) which were carried out in 1999-2000 helped primary schools to put citizenship education into practice more effectively. The Australian government is still grappling with the question of how much space to give citizenship education in an already overfull curriculum. It can replace part of the social studies and history subjects, but structuring this integration has proved to be problematic. So what should the new-style citizenship entail for Australians? Five aspects are cited: Citizenship goes further than the national borders, regional and international topics also affect the life of the citizen. (Japan offers an example of a concrete project that was started according to this principle, the Youth Exchange Programme) Citizenship is important for all Australians, therefore for the cultural and ethnic minorities and those with lower levels of education as well. Citizenship emphasises the rights, duties and responsibilities of each citizen. The responsibilities of the citizen in a democratic society come to the fore in the case of political participation and promoting the common good. Citizenship is based on the principles of a civil society, where every citizen endeavours to live as he or she wishes while taking account of and ensuring the preservation of the society and common property. Citizenship encourages participation for the common good, an aspect which is expressed most strongly at the local and regional level, where people live together in a community (an example is the ‘Clean up Australia’ campaign). The aim is to train pupils to think about morality, ethical questions and social justice within the framework of citizenship education and values. It is also about learning values which will help pupils to participate in society as active and wellinformed citizens (also in an international context). Thirdly, teachers are instilling



respect in their pupils for their own culture, including the culture of the ancestors who are now a minority. Finally, the aim is to teach pupils that it is important, with a view to the future, to care for the environment properly by means of sustainable development. School-leavers should be active and well-informed in their role of citizens and should have knowledge of, and be interested in, the Australian government system and society. Despite the agreement about the importance of these campaigns, converting the policy into teaching material was not very successful. There was criticism from the conservatives about the use of values in relation to sustainable development and social justice in the domain of citizenship education. As the project progressed, the people involved became more willing to implement the policy in practice. Citizenship is now something which many Australians regard as very important. Support for citizenship education is increasing. The following values are central: democratic processes and freedoms public responsibility and accountability civilisation and respect for the law tolerance and respect for others social justice acceptance of cultural diversity


‘Discovering democracy’; Teaching democracy in the primary school
According to Australian policymakers, school teachers must have a strong conviction that democracy is possible, they must believe in it. There must also be broad consensus about the use of education in relation to democracy. In a healthy democracy, citizens adopt a critical attitude towards the motives of their politicians. In a democracy, there is the belief that no government is perfect, and that no ideology has an absolute hold on the truth. Education’s task is to ensure that citizens are critical, which means that the democracy remains healthy, but above all to provide the education that forms the basis for critical citizens. Citizens cannot keep a sharp and critical eye on the government if they do not have the knowledge to do so. Learning about other cultures is also important to instil respect and tolerance across the whole of society. What does ‘education in democracy’ look like? Australia is using a 2-step plan. The basic concepts of democracy must be taught, such as basic knowledge about democracy, political science and the underlying ideas (the history lesson goes all


the way back to Athens). Secondly, teachers and pupils must be given the opportunity to really experience democracy. ‘It is important to remember that ideas don’t become knowledge except by being embodied in practice and in consequent transformations of the self’ (Gutman 1987).5 The ethos, the function of role model and the structure of the school also determine the degree of success. The ‘Federal Discovering Democracy Education Program’ was allocated 17.5 million dollars over four years to provide schools with material and for the professional development of teachers. The Australian democracy is envied the world over and, policymakers believe, Australia must therefore act carefully and continue to invest money in this if it is to retain its position as a leader in this field. The idea is that democracy will have to face considerable challenges in the future and Australia wants to prepare for these in the meantime. It is up to the teachers to convey the values of democracy to the generation that will have to keep democracy healthy in such a future. Finally, the report contains a number of ‘discussion starters’. These are questions which should be raised when setting up a similar citizenship education programme.




Contact with the Dutch Embassy in Canada led, via the website of the Canadian government, to information about the institutions below. The ‘Democracy Canada Institute’ was the most important direct source of information for this study as far as Canada is concerned. The institute falls under the Canadian parliament and maintains close ties with the various organisations involved in strengthening democracy.


The Democracy Canada Institute
A report6 from the Institute describes a number of organisations that Canada has in the area of citizenship, electoral matters, voter education, strengthening political capacity and training political representatives. The most relevant institutions are discussed below.


The Parliamentary Center
The first institution is the Parliamentary Center7. This is a non-profit organisation with the aim of supporting elected representatives in carrying out their democratic task. Canada has inter-parliamentary networks by means of which members of parliament maintain contact with one another and their colleagues abroad to exchange experiences in this area. There are also ‘capacity-development programmes’ to keep representative democracy at the required standard. This is done by training elected representatives, with the emphasis on their representative function and to a lesser degree on developing skills to use at meetings and in dealing with the media. The aim of the centre is to serve the Canadian parliament and its members, to ensure that they can play a more effective role in the parliament as ‘policy entrepreneurs’ and to act as an intermediary between society and the government. Its activities include providing a parliamentary forum (where information and tips are exchanged over the internet) and the centre for ‘Legislative Exchange’, where, as the name indicates, legislation is exchanged at an international level.


Elections Canada
The second institution in Canada in the area of representative democracy is Elections Canada8, founded in 2004. This organisation also has both a national and an international outlook. It is dedicated to ensuring free and fair elections, both inside and outside the country. The aim is to ensure that citizens are involved both in elections and by means of other democratic instruments, not only at election times but also in-between. Citizens must be able to become involved if they want to. Guaranteeing the impartiality of democratic processes is important. The organisation is dedicated to increasing the voter turnout in Canada, by means of active promotion with the help of various media in the run-up to the elections. EC tries to set up a dialogue with citizens by issuing crosswords containing democratic words such as ‘Vote’, ‘Assembly’ and ‘Elections’. An ‘Elections Trivia Game’ is also available on the internet, which is an informative game where players have to answer questions about parliament and elections. For those who want to take a more active role, there is information about how to stand as a candidate and what (youth) organisations offer opportunities to influence politics.


Canada World Youth
Canada World Youth9 designs institutional education programmes for teenagers and young adults from 17 to 29 years of age, which focus on voluntary work and the community in a cross-cultural setting. The aim is to get young people more involved in a harmonious and sustainable society. There are three core objectives: to promote the acquisition of knowledge, skills and values which are necessary in an active and involved community; to create a network of people from different backgrounds and cultures that is characterised by respect and understanding; and to build partnerships with countries, organisations, communities, groups and persons who/which can serve as sources of joint action. It is about learning by doing. This is an informal educational model based on concepts such as cooperation and reciprocal relationships. In concrete terms, young people are offered a programme that consist of two phases. One in Canada and one in Africa, Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe. It lasts six to seven months in total, three of which are in Canada. Each student is allocated a counterpart from the relevant country, with whom he or she shares the whole experience, and with whom he or she stays with a host family and does voluntary work. There are classes during the entire project, to ensure that the students get the best possible grasp of ‘global and local issues’. According to the organisation, this is an intercultural learning experience that students will never


forget, and during which they will acquire new knowledge and skills. Depending on the students’ destination, they will learn about the environment, HIV/AIDS and/or poverty. The foundation works together with a network of 30 member states which make the arrangements for the young Canadians. The programme is financed via funds, sponsoring and a contribution of 250 dollars per participant. Various schools in Canada give study points to students who participate in the programme. More than 22,000 young people have taken part in the programme since 1971.



United States

Further to contact with the Dutch Embassy it became apparent that the US is a separate case in this study. Firstly, according to the contact person, promoting democracy is hardly necessary in the US, partly because the participation figures (not just voting at elections, but also voluntary work) are good, in contrast to most of the other countries studied where the figures show a steady downward trend. Secondly, if there were to be a problem in this area, the state would not get involved in this, primarily because of the liberal view of government in the US. Contrary to the above, however, some internet research shows that political and social involvement is declining in many places in the US. This development is often linked to inadequate education in American history and citizenship. In the US, citizenship is closely linked to the national history. Constitution Day is celebrated annually (during “Constitution Week”). ‘The National Conference on Citizenship’ is also held each year. These initiatives, supported by the federal government, aim to promote citizen participation and dialogue.10 Furthermore, numerous organisations are developing initiatives to promote citizenship, such as ‘The National Commission on Civic Renewal’ and the ‘Americans for More Civility’ movement. New initiatives have recently been developed at the federal level as well. For example, the expansion of the Education for Democracy Act. This included proposals for promoting democracy. A number of proposals in 2003 related to ‘The American History and Civics Education Act of 2003’ and the ‘NEH We the People Initiative’. This led to the strengthening of the programme ‘We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution’. This programme is financed by the federal Ministry of Education. New legislation in 2003 introduced a pilot programme of 25 million dollars per year during the period 2004-2007 for the collaboration of teachers and students in the area of American history and citizenship. ‘We The People - The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)’11 is an agency of the federal government that aims to boost, with a view to promoting democracy and democratic citizenship, social sciences and American history research. The means used here are cultural in nature and relate to education, research and public programmes. The law provides the basis for subsidies for associations of teachers and educational institutes in this regard. The law also provides for the establishment of a National Alliance of Teachers of American History and Civics.


The above summary shows that the American (federal) government is developing a number of initiatives for sustainable democracy. A few American initiatives are discussed in more detail below.


Center for Civic Education
The US’s Center for Civic Education12 has set out what characteristics society must have if democracy is to succeed. These will be dealt with briefly here. The first characteristic is citizenship. According to the document on which the centre is based, being a citizen in a democracy is something completely different to being a citizen in a state that is not based on democratic values. In a democracy, each citizen has not only specific rights but also responsibilities. This entails - and this is the second requirement - the need for citizens to have the knowledge and skills to carry out their democratic task. Citizens must be informed if they are to participate effectively. Citizens must also be able to weigh up the various principles and values that are important in the relevant society. The most important areas of knowledge include, for example, history, geography, general political movements and the political system. Skills which have been found to be important for carrying out the democratic task are cognitive and participatory skills. Behaviour and characteristics which have been found to be valuable within the framework of citizenship are politeness, individual responsibility, self-discipline, social involvement, neutrality (open mind), willingness to compromise, tolerance, loyalty and perseverance.


American Democracy Project
In addition to the aforementioned institutions, the US has another organisation that is geared towards strengthening democracy. This is the American Democracy Project13. The American Democracy Project is an initiative of 144 different American schools and universities which are working together to increase the election turnout among young people. This project reaches more than 1.3 million students. The project only covers schools and universities which are members of the ‘American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU). The objectives of the collaborative project are as follows: increasing the number of pupils and students involved in associative and participatory institutions. More students should engage in extracurricular activities. generating support among policymakers and public opinion for promoting the social value of schools and universities for society. The project is trying to start a national debate, particularly among educators, about


the theory and practice of social involvement. The aim is also to cultivate institutional commitment among young citizens, by organising discussions with senior policy officials from various government organisations, with an emphasis on the learning process of the pupil or student. Projects, courses and educational programmes are also initiated and updated.


Youth’04.org14 is a non-profit organisation (part of the Center for Democracy) with more or less the same target group as the aforementioned project. It focuses on young adults of between 18 and 25 years of age, and their contribution to the 2004 elections. This organisation introduces young people to the internet sites of political institutions to motivate them and encourage them to make themselves known in the political playing field. Via the internet, young people are alerted to the importance of politics and the political topics that specifically affect them. There is, for example, an internet forum where young people can exchange views about specific topics. In Minnesota, at the Mankato University, a series of debates was organised in the run-up to the 2004 elections. The Campus debates were designed to highlight politics, the community and liberty as a common focus. The technique used to do this was taken over from the Institute of Cultural Affairs, which helped villages in Kenya to discuss their common values and ideas for the future. This was a success and actually resulted in action plans. During one of the debates in Minnesota, the students jointly discussed under which circumstances the university policy could be called a socially involved policy. They came up with a series of characteristics of citizenship and social involvement, for example acting as members of a single community who share democratic ideals and ideas with one another. The point was also raised that it was necessary to take responsibility as an individual for the public interest, to consider different points of view and finally to actively participate in the political decision-making process. In addition, the students found it important to keep themselves and others well informed about the public discourse. As a result of this, extracurricular activities were organised. Initiatives by students to build stronger communities were encouraged. A professor of speech communication was employed who could act as the coordinator for community based learning. He also worked on new programmes and their promotion and on kindling students’ enthusiasm for political education. The candidates for the State House Offices answered questions from one hundred and fifty students at the university. This led to an increase in voter registration. The American Democracy Project was a great success at this university. Since it was all


about the elections, some people feared, as can be seen from an article in the New York Times about this,15 that once the elections were over, the increased social and political involvement would fall by the wayside. Nevertheless, attempts are being made to sustain the students’ attention. The focus will be less on generating specific discussion about the elections, and more on the other part, stimulating social activity and political involvement in general. The plan is to keep the discussion alive by keeping the link with the American Democracy Project, making politics a theme of the lessons about speaking in public, and finally, awarding pupils and students bonus points / study points if they work on their democratic and communicative skills in their spare time.


The Kettering Foundation
The Kettering Foundation16 is an organisation which deals primarily with the question: “What does it take to make democracy work as it should?” This is based on three hypotheses. Firstly, a democracy requires its citizens to bear their responsibilities and to be able to take decisions about the public interest. Secondly, society, the community and the citizen must all be healthy and reasonably stable units. Thirdly, the institutions which make up civil society must be legitimate. The Foundation is very clear about the current state of democracy in the US, because although Americans are extremely proud of their democracy, it is in a bad way. According to the Foundation, the American political system must change to meet the demands of the 21st century. Many Americans see their lives as dominated by all kinds of large systems: the economic, legal, educational and political system. The institutions on which a society is based lack importance or no longer fit in with the needs of the citizen. One of the aims and research areas of the Foundation is that communities should start functioning better than they ever have before. The Foundation is trying to find out what elements are needed for a flourishing public domain, whether this can be strengthened and what instruments are suitable for this. The diagnosis is that too many citizens get left behind or only watch from the sidelines. The Foundation wants to achieve these aims together with communities and community-based organisations. The role of leadership in the public domain is one of the topics under discussion. The Foundation has found that more leaders are needed because this has a positive effect on the intensity of a community. The more people take the lead and the more people have the feeling that they are part of the organisation, the better the organisation will function. The Foundation is investigating how leadership (also at neighbourhood and group level) can be encouraged and what forms


of training can be offered for this. In this case, the aim is to encourage social and political involvement and boost a thriving public domain. Two institutions are discussed by the Foundation, as well as what can be done to re-anchor these firmly in society: the media and education. A short summary is given below.

Citizens often regard the media as part of the professional political class that drives citizens away from their citizenship task. Focusing on the education of journalists may offer a solution to this problem. Journalism courses must focus more on an understanding and knowledge of democracy and dealing with democracy as a professional journalist. The Kettering Foundation goes into the question not only of how journalists see citizens, but also of how citizens view journalists. The relationship, which is important for both parties, can play a major role in how citizens regard (government) institutions.
Public Scholarship

The second institution to be scrutinised by the Foundation is the educational establishment. As has already been seen, the requirements of a democratic society do not link up with the priorities laid down in education. The project devoted to this topic is public scholarship, which focuses on giving higher education a new place in the public domain and employing graduates in the public sector.

The relationship between the government and society is covered by a project which focuses on cultivating understanding for the problems experienced by representatives when carrying out their public tasks. Research has shown that the way in which representatives communicate with citizens is often unsatisfactory for both parties. The programme identifies the reasons for the poor communication and supplies solutions. One reason appears to be that citizens have little understanding and knowledge of the difficulties that representatives face when resolving the problems referred to by citizens. Citizens do not have a good idea of what can and cannot be done for them by politicians and often have too high expectations, which leads to disappointment and perhaps even a lack of public confidence.
Public Journalism

The King Baudouin Foundation in Brussels has issued a number of interesting publications, including one on the ‘Public Journalism’ question in the US, called ‘A voice for citizens?’ The reason for this Belgian initiative was a new term that has recently surfaced in the Netherlands, namely ‘public journalism’. In this form of

journalism, which has been around in the US for some time, the journalist writes about topics that arouse the interest of the citizen in relation to his social environment. Two hundred readers of a newspaper were interviewed in depth in the US in the 1990s to find out what citizens want in this respect. The reporting was then tailored accordingly. Journalists no longer reported only on things that went wrong, but also on society’s success stories. As has already been stated, citizens perceive an increasing gulf between themselves and the media, with aversion to the media also rising. The media are no longer their allies who contribute to the democratic process of ensuring that the government is monitored and held publicly accountable. This has given rise to discussion about what role a journalist should play in this new society. The Belgian report uses terms such as personalisation, polarisation and trivialisation to describe the reporting of important events by the media. The idea is that this way of working may pose a threat to the democratic quality of government campaigns and institutions. It contributes to a reduced public domain and the fossilisation of political relationships. In America, hundreds of newspaper already operate according to the public journalism principle and some receive support from the Kettering Foundation, among others17. They involve citizens in the communication process. The idea is beginning to take on the form of a journalism movement. It is however more of a basic attitude on the part of the individual journalist rather than a technique or an aspect of the profession. A few examples of democratic policy practices that such journalists can implement are: organising political debates with citizens and/or politicians; bringing journalists and politicians together by means of a project group; participating (possibly as initiators) in discussions with citizens and politicians themselves and then publishing an article on this. Some people find only the first example acceptable, because the other practices make a journalist more of a political leader rather than the neutral reporter that a journalist is in principle. Public journalism can be encouraged by the educational institution where the journalist studies18.


Denmark and Norway

Denmark and Norway have - because of their intensive collaboration and their similarity in many respects – partly similar legislation and policy programmes. The first initiative, postal voting, that is dealt with below is one of the concrete examples of policy practices implemented by both countries. The document ‘power and democracy in Denmark’19 gives the findings of a study into the state of democracy in Denmark and the points that could be improved. It deals with problems that have also arisen in the Netherlands, such as individualisation, deterritorialisation and changes in the place and form of power. The latter refers, among other things, to the fact that government decisions are being taken faster and are more oriented to the short term, which means a decline in transparency and the possibility for citizens to be involved. On the one hand, democratic rights are better established and anchored than before. Voters have more influence on elections and human rights are guaranteed at a high level. This is also reflected in the confidence in Danish politicians, which is on the increase according to the report. On the other hand, Denmark also has conflicting trends. Many decisions which interfere with the lives of citizens are not directly democratically legitimised, particularly EU-related decisions. Furthermore, there is a growing group of people living in Denmark who cannot vote, namely people from abroad. Contact with Ms Bekker of the Dutch Embassy in Denmark and Mr Christensen, member of the Public Governance Committee of the OECD for Norway, led to the contact persons at the government departments and to websites. These in turn led to the following results.


In order to give as many voters as possible the opportunity to cast their vote during elections, the Danish government has made it possible to vote in advance, that is, before the elections are held20. Citizens who are unable to get to the polling station on election day for whatever reason are supported in this way. In Denmark, voters are not allowed to vote at a polling station other than the one where they are registered and there was therefore a need for some flexibility on this point. In Danish, the new procedure is called ‘brevstemmeafgivning’, which means postal voting.

It is possible to vote in advance in all municipalities. In most cases, the office where citizens can register to cast their vote in this way is located in the municipal office. People can vote during a period of 13 working days, starting three weeks before the elections and ending two days prior to the day of the election. Voters who are in hospital, a care home or prison can register there. The municipalities coordinate the process of postal voting and are responsible for ensuring that the registration process at the various institutions runs smoothly. The ballots are collected by the administrative staff of the municipality and by members of the municipal council. In the case of institutions such as hospitals, prisons etc., a person is appointed (often the administrative head) to collect the ballots. These and other formal requirements are laid down in a special regulation to ensure that postal voting is properly implemented. A number of examples of these requirements are showing proof of identity when registering, ensuring the privacy of the voter when completing the form, and the conditions under which the vote is valid (for example, the form must be filled in correctly).


The Youth Parliament 2005
The aim of this project was to help young people to understand the democratic process21. They learned how to write their own draft bills, and how to debate these in parliamentary committees. Young people learned the rules of democracy and gained an understanding of what actually happens before legislation is passed. Children learned that the democratic process also means that the people, of whom they themselves form part, must be represented. Children were encouraged to take an active part in the development of Danish democracy and became aware of the opportunities open to them if they wished to go into politics once they were old enough. The project lasted for a year and ran from August 2004 to May 2005, and involved the following activities. In August, the teachers were briefed. They could carry out the preparatory work for the Youth Parliament together with eight or nine pupils. This consisted of jointly writing a draft bill and submitting this to the parliament. The deadline for submitting the bill was November 2004. The Danish Parliament then selected sixty bills that met the criteria. On 17 November, the various groups of pupils each selected three representatives from among their number who would act as their spokespersons in the Youth Parliament. The names of the spokespersons and their teachers were then passed on to the parliament. The pupils then worked on the draft bill further, to prepare for the discussion of this in the committees. The largest part of the written preparatory work took place in November and December 2004, with the internet playing a major role. A special website was set


up where the pupils could find all the information and could also keep in touch with one another to exchange their experiences and get inspiration from one another. All meetings could also later be viewed on the internet page. Each of the twelve committees consisted of multiple groups of pupils and received all the relevant bills in December, that is, five per committee. They met partly by electronic means and partly in the Christiansborg Palace, the parliament. The final meeting, that the pupils had been working towards in their groups and subsequently in the committees, was held in April. The Youth Parliament was opened by the Speaker of the Danish Parliament. In the morning the committees met in the official chambers used for this purpose by members of parliament. Lunch was followed by the plenary meeting in the afternoon, finishing off with voting by the ‘members of parliament’. The pupils learned to deal with parliamentary instruments. The day ended with a reception for all participants and was evaluated in the schools during the weeks thereafter.




Contact with the German Ministry of the Interior and the websites of German social organisations delivered the following information22. This information relates to initiatives to promote democracy developed by both social organisations and the government. There are various practices which could be useful for Dutch democracy. The citizen usually takes centre stage, however, something that all the initiatives described below have in common.


Modern State, Modern Administration
The German government has set up various projects during the past years which are aimed at increasing participation by increasing the social orientation of the public administration. The umbrella project is called ‘Modern State – Modern Administration’. An important key objective is achieving a continuous dialogue with society. The general aim is to achieve greater participation and greater social responsibility among citizens. According to the German Ministry of the Interior, the policy areas that require more attention from citizens are legislation, public involvement and other projects that will be mentioned briefly below.23


E-democracy, Call Centre and Open House
The dialogue with citizens has been initiated via various forms of e-democracy and via call centres specially set up to record complaints and suggestions from citizens. E-democracy is regarded as a useful addition to the system of representative democracy24. It is seen as offsetting the decreasing transparency of public decisionmaking processes, furthermore citizens are experts on society and their contribution is regarded as extremely important. In concrete terms, this involves chat sessions in which politicians and civil servants try to answer questions from citizens, usually relating to sustainable development. Other websites, for example the parliament website, also offer chat sessions which may deal with various topics. In 2005, a pilot project was launched allowing citizens to send in their comments and suggestions to the Bundestag Petition Committee, so that they can exercise influence in a much more direct manner. The annual federal government Open House is another initiative that makes it


possible for citizens to submit their complaints, feedback and input. Citizens can talk directly to representatives of the government. Furthermore, the aim is for the central call centres to be open for complaints and suggestions from citizens relating to the government in the broadest sense of the word. As far as encouraging citizen participation is concerned, ministries are obliged to forward draft bills to social organisations which have an interest in the draft bill in question, so that they have the opportunity to participate at an early stage. (News) organisations and the general public can also easily consult the information, since it is published on the internet.


Bundesnetzwerk über Burgerschaftliches Engagement
The second component of the German government’s policy practices to promote democracy is the national network for social involvement (Bundesnetzwerk über Burgerschaftliches Engagement - BBE)25. The aim of this is to stimulate civil society and social involvement in the entire public domain. Not only the government, but also social organisations and companies are involved in this network. Together, they are working towards an active civil society. All this took place after the first signs of a changing relationship between citizens and the government were spotted. In Germany, there is a strong need for an accessible state that provides the basic conditions which are required for a healthy, sustainable democracy. This is a democracy characterised by social involvement, social activity and cohesion, independent enterprising citizens and voluntary co-optation. To this end, the federal government also supports the establishment, development and maintenance of voluntary organisations. Unnecessary bureaucracy which distracts voluntary workers from their task will have to disappear. The idea behind the emphasis on voluntary work and the removal of barriers preventing this is that the welfare state is on the wane, or in any event will, in the very near future, no longer be appropriate. A balance must be found between a responsible state and a flourishing and necessary system of associations and voluntary organisations which provide society with the required additional care and support. Studies are being carried out into the opportunities for carrying out voluntary work, and in the meantime the German government is starting to set up networks and the infrastructure that is required for an associative society. It is true that the government wants to implement soft reforms, but the aim is always to move towards a government that concerns itself with its basic functions, and therefore towards a more reticent government. Individual responsibility must be correlated with the basis of solidarity which is symbolised by the welfare state. According to the information from the BBE, no concrete steps have as yet been taken, although the network is of course a new institution in itself.


Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung
The Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung (BPB)26 has been in existence for more than fifty years. This federal centre for political education encourages all interested citizens to participate in politics in one way or another. The aim is to promote understanding and knowledge of politics and the political conditions under which politicians carry out their work. By promoting democratic awareness and a willingness to get involved in politics, the BPB hopes to contribute to the sustainability of democracy. The BPB is part of the German Ministry of the Interior. In concrete terms, projects are organised in various cities that cultivate political involvement among citizens of all ages. Together with a national polycentric network, provision is made for educational facilities, and teachers who are independent and neutral are sought. Projekt-P27 is specially geared towards young people in more than ten cities in Germany. The annual festival for youth politics in Berlin is organised as part of this project, as are many activities in the cities, such as the ‘We’re sending our Parliament on holiday’ project. This involves the young people of the state of Baden-Württemberg being visited, at their holiday destinations (youth camps and suchlike), by political representatives who then exchange experiences and ideas with them. This is organised by the Baden Jugend Ring, a collaborative project involving various youth organisations. The organisation also has a youth council which looks after the interests of young people at both the regional and national government levels and in society as a whole. The national variant of the aforementioned organisation, which has the same objectives, is the Landes Jugend Ring. One project that stands out is the ‘Frauen Macht Politik!’ project, where women get the opportunity to spend a day at the Bundestag and attend workshops.


Werkstatt für Demokratie
The Werkstatt für Demokratie28 is another organisation that is specially geared towards children. It makes it possible for children to ‘have their say’ in politics by providing child-friendly information (in an easy to use manner, also via the internet) and a special youth forum where children meet one another in a Lower House setting. Furthermore, it has its own special political agenda only containing topics which are important for children, such as playing in the streets, children’s immediate surroundings and the rights which children (should) have. In other words, these are topics on which children are the experts, based on the democratic idea that they (usually) know what is best for them.



Workshop for journalists
One of the Bundestag’s own projects is a workshop which young journalists can attend for a lesson in democracy29. And a very intensive lesson it is too, since there are places for forty journalists who can take a look behind the political scenes of democracy over the course of a week. They attend plenary sessions of the Bundestag and get the opportunity to discuss matters with politicians. This project was set up to give journalists, since they play an important role in determining public opinion, more understanding of the democratic and administrative tasks facing politicians and civil servants. Journalists are taught to be critical, but being critical is not always about being negative. Giving them an honest picture of politics means that the journalists will, when they come to exercise their profession, have enough knowledge to make their own assessments. In this way, the media can once again function as a watchdog and play an important monitoring and informative role in a healthy democracy.



On 17 January 2002, the ‘Democracy in the New Century’ act30 was adopted by the Swedish government. This was an initiative for the sustainable development and deepening of Swedish democracy. It has two key aims, namely to safeguard representative democracy and to encourage citizens to participate, also between elections. Sweden is experiencing increasing marginalisation, exclusion and passivity among citizens. The turnout for the Swedish parliament elections in 1998 hit an all-time low. Political parties have problems. Citizens no longer trust politicians. But there are rays of hope in Sweden: temporary work on a voluntary basis is on the increase. Faith in democracy as a form of government is strong. The government has set four long-term objectives which are central to its policy to strengthen democracy: turnout should increase considerably in European, national and local elections; a larger proportion of citizens should hold some form of political or public position of trust; citizens should be given more opportunities to influence the political process than is currently the case; the proportion of citizens participating should increase; citizens’ opportunities to influence the political process should be more equal across different population groups than is currently the case (people must be treated equally in terms of participation and influence regardless of whether they are young or old, employed or unemployed or of foreign extraction or natives of Sweden).

The programmes
The key aims and objectives that have arisen from the above are discussed briefly below and the results of the evaluation carried out in the meantime are summarised. Sweden is experiencing decreasing turnout figures for elections, although this trend seems to be changing since the drop during the period 1998-2004 was less significant than during the period 1994-1998. In recent years, a number of attempts have been made to increase turnout in Sweden, such as simplifying voting procedures


and gathering more knowledge about the methods of promoting democracy. Other actors also play an important role in increasing turnout, such as political parties. All relevant institutions should be involved in a long-term vision to achieve a successful end result. The government has taken the following concrete steps to increase turnout: a number of amendments to the Elections Act, changes to the central electoral organisation, the project ‘Time For Democracy’, extra resources for political parties to provide better information for people of foreign extraction, ‘Metropolitan policy’, ‘Youth Policy Measures’, and finally a new date for elections for the European Parliament. The first three (Elections Act, electoral board and Time for Democracy) will be described in greater detail because they offer useful insights into how Sweden is going about strengthening democracy.


Elections Act
The Elections Act31 is, among other things, about increasing opportunities to vote by mail for voters resident abroad and furthermore about empowering officials at polling stations to issue duplicate voting cards. The Electoral Board was replaced by an entirely new organisation in July 2001 (called the Valmyndigheten). As a result, more ballot papers reached voters on time and voters could find more information about the voting process (for example on the ballot paper, in the media, via pamphlets and on the newly revamped website of the Valmyndigheten). In addition, the information was made available in a number of foreign languages and the Electoral Board concluded an agreement with the national postal service. The agreement stated that this organisation was devoting itself to organising ‘institutional voting’. The changes mean that the requirements set by the new Elections Act can be met more effectively, including the removal of impediments to voting. According to the report,32 it is difficult to say whether the turnout at elections will actually improve. In any case, citizens are better informed as a result of the diverse activities of the electoral authority. The use of different media in the run-up to the elections is particularly striking, and will in all probability have positive consequences for the future.


Time for Democracy
‘Time for Democracy’33 was a two-year project for the development of Swedish democracy. The aim was to enhance citizens’ awareness of the democratic process and promote their participation in that process, particularly in the run-up to


elections. Firstly, voluntary organisations working towards this aim were given extra financial support, and secondly, there were extra activities such as setting up a voters magazine and organising seminars. Researchers from a Swedish university evaluated these activities and came to the conclusion that ‘Democracy Needs Time’. Although all action groups had met their targets, the results would only become visible over the course of time. Their recommendation was to continue along the same path, but in addition to develop even longer-term projects to make democracy more sustainable. A striking outcome was however that the employees of the groups questioned perceived a change in citizen participation during elections. Participation increased as compared to previous elections. Projects which were aimed at encouraging minority groups (young people, people from foreign backgrounds) to participate in politics certainly appeared to be successful, insofar as this could be measured during the project. More than one-third of the project coordinators were not able to state anything about the degree of success of their project (they did not perceive any significant increase in the number of participants before and during the elections as compared to the period prior to the start of the project). The majority of the coordinators did however think that citizens had a better understanding and knowledge of democratic processes and that citizens were discussing political issues with the people around them more than before. According to the coordinators, the voters magazine (Röster or Votes) had a positive influence. For example, it was to a reasonable extent used as teaching material by Social Studies teachers.


Political representatives
The second long-term goal focuses on increasing the number of elected political representatives34. This relates to representatives at the local government level. The government’s responsibility in this regard is about removing obstacles that prevent people from standing as candidates. A better understanding of why certain sections of the population continue to be underrepresented in various political bodies is also needed. This relates to young people, non-Swedish citizens, people with low incomes, elderly people, citizens who were born in another country and people with little education. The number of elected representatives in Sweden has dropped in the last decade. At the same time, the tasks to be carried out at the local level have become increasingly concentrated. This can lead to problems since it makes participation by ordinary citizens more difficult. Most positions simply take up too much time and the work involved cannot be carried out during the evening. Fewer representatives also means a decline in the number of contact interfaces that a citizen has with local politics.

A Swedish study has shown that it is good for social representativity if there are a large number of ties, both formal and informal, between citizens and the government and between citizens and the representative bodies. The efforts of the local government bodies are extremely important as regards achieving the objectives in respect of representation and making up lost ground. In addition, the national government will have to remove barriers and follow and monitor the processes in all municipalities. These efforts involve education and training, financial compensation and protecting elected representatives against threats and violence. The evaluation shows that these efforts to improve the conditions for elected representatives will also be needed in the future. A series of initiatives has recently been launched to give impetus to these efforts, namely more opportunities for people with disabilities to stand as candidates and carry out their representative role; recruitment of elected representatives from a wider section of the population; cooperation between the various actors. These initiatives will be discussed briefly below.
People with disabilities

With a view to increasing opportunities for people with disabilities to stand as candidates, the government has carried out research into the use of sign language in representative bodies. Consideration has also been given to how the needs of the blind, the deaf and the hearing-impaired can be better met with regard to policy documents and other digital and hard-copy information. The aim is for elected representatives to be able to carry out their tasks on the same terms as other councillors. This focus was a direct result of a number of amendments to the Swedish Local Government Act. The results were published in July 2005, and served as input for further steps to improve the opportunities for people with disabilities to carry out their representative role.

As regards recruiting elected representatives from a broader section of the population, the aim is to have more women, young people and people from foreign backgrounds stand as candidates. This would mean that political bodies would reflect society more accurately. Research was carried out and the results of this, which could form the input for new policy in this regard, are expected in October 2005. Furthermore, the Swedish government released funds for political parties in 2004 already to give them the opportunity to provide their representatives with preparatory training for their work as representatives. This was done further to a debate about the recruitment of representatives between the Minister for Democratic Issues and parliamentary parties in December 2003.


Information network

The third point for strengthening the position of elected representatives was cooperation between the various actors. In Sweden, the Special Unit for Democracy and Self-Government, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and the Federation of Swedish County Councils work together. One of their joint activities is giving a series of classes for elected representatives via course material, lectures and internet discussions. In this way, representatives are kept up to date with all the information that is relevant to them. By working together and combining information, they can be of far greater assistance to representatives than was previously the case.


Participation between elections

The third aim of the democratisation project of the Swedish government is the creation of more and better opportunities for citizens to influence the political process35. More citizens must start participating in politics. In Sweden, there has proved to be a significant desire to get involved and to participate at various levels of the population, contrary to what the actual participation by citizens appears to indicate. Citizens are most likely to participate in and initiate procedures which are not centrally driven or do not require official assistance. Finding ways of fitting in with what citizens want requires a lot of cooperation from various government bodies, political parties and voluntary organisations. Measuring results has proven to be problematic during the evaluation phase here as well. It is difficult to assess whether and to what extent the opportunities for citizens to participate have decreased. In accordance with the wishes of the government, the proposals to make participating in local politics more attractive have been implemented to a greater or lesser degree. These are things that now exist in the majority of the municipalities in Sweden, such as self-regulating bodies, youth councils, citizens’ proposals and citizen panels. Most of the local authorities are also investing in opportunities for people with disabilities to participate and a great deal of attention is being paid to people from groups which are relatively underrepresented, to ensure that their views are heard as well. It is important to offer citizens a whole range of participation opportunities, so that there is a suitable way for each citizen to cast his or her vote or express his or her opinion. Thought will also have to be given to the decision-making processes and whether these are comprehensible to citizens who do not deal with politics on an everyday basis. Sweden has also found it important to offer citizens the opportunity to become


involved in EU policy, particularly because of the fact that this is playing an increasing role in determining the everyday world of every citizen. The evaluation report repeats on a number of occasions the recommendation that the number of opportunities for citizens to get involved and the instruments available to them for this be expanded. It is also important to make it possible for citizens to have their say about the topics on the political agenda by means of cooperation between the national and local government authorities and between these authorities and the voluntary organisations. Initiatives referred to in respect of promoting participation between elections are more transparency in the financial administration of political parties and their election campaigns, public meeting places, a review of policy on organised community activity and finally new organisations and targeted government support (for example, for women’s organisations as and where necessary).

As regards transparency36 in the organisation of political parties, the aim is for the citizen to be able to inspect the financial affairs of a party, should he or she wish to do so. The idea behind this is that transparency can in general increase the legitimacy of an institution and prevent corruption. In 2002, the Swedish government initiated a study into the methods used by political parties to finance their activities, with particular emphasis on the elections and the candidates, since these had a major impact on the expenditure pattern of a party. The report that followed (‘Public Access to the Revenues of Political Parties and Election Candidates’) proposed a system of statutory accountability as the most effective way of ensuring adequate public access.
Community activity

The Swedish government devoted a policy area with a separate budget to the revision of the policy on ‘community activity’37. The aim was to increase citizens’ opportunities to take part in voluntary organisations, pressure groups or other nongovernmental organisations as much as possible. The policy in this regard functions as a supplement to, among other things, policy relating to non-governmental organisations in various sectors. The question in Sweden is whether a central body should be set up to provide a centre for these organisations and the policy relating to them, where facts and figures can be collected. In 2004, part of the budget was for the first time set aside for a review of the policy on organised community activity in society and how this can be encouraged.


Public meeting places

The idea behind public meeting places38 is that if democracy is to develop into a strong institution, people must be given suitable opportunities to come together at the local and regional levels. The evaluation shows that this initiative from 1993 has been very important in Sweden, especially since people now increasingly devote their leisure time to the pursuit of recreational activities or commercial entertainment. The public meetings boost both the local community and local democracy. The government has set up a commission that reports on the public meetings between citizens and that submits recommendations to the government about promoting these meetings in practice. The government’s task in this regard is primarily to provide information.
New organisations

The final category is the ‘new organisations’39, a fourth initiative that has been developed in Sweden to increase participation between elections. The Swedish government reviewed the provision of subsidies to various organisations, including women’s organisations. The report states that women have made great strides in recent years and their share in public activities has increased accordingly. It goes on to point out that the way in which women form organisations is different. Women’s organisations are much more network-oriented. The members of organisations participate in other organisations and knowledge is shared. In this way, the needs of society as a whole can be met more effectively. This in turn requires other methods of public support by the government.


Equal participation

The Swedish government’s fourth long-term goal relates to making the opportunities available to citizens for influencing the political process more equal than they were previously40. Progress has been made on this front, for example the gap between women and men in terms of active involvement in politics has narrowed. The number of women, young people and people with other nationalities who are politically active is increasing, but these groups are still underrepresented. In other words, white Swedish middle-aged men still dominate politics. Political participation in non-traditional institutions is increasing among all groups of the population. A cause for concern in Sweden is the declining number of young people who are actively participating in the community or community politics. There is therefore still an urgent need to move towards more equal representation in Sweden, and the following initiatives have already contributed to this.


Exclusion between elections

To increase equal participation of men and women, a scheme was introduced in terms of which financial compensation could be claimed for childcare costs if one of the parents participated in local politics. This means that more single parents can stand as candidates. People with a disability can also receive financial support for the costs incurred as a result of their disability during the participatory activities. To increase participation between elections, the provision of information was improved. When it comes to ICT, the question is what can be done to avoid inequality and the exclusion of people who do not have access to the internet. The computer industry has been accused of designing software, among other things, from a male perspective. The ‘Draft Strategy for Reducing Digital Gaps in Sweden’ has been set up to deal with these and other problems.
Exclusion during elections

Voters from a foreign background are mobilised by political parties to increase their participation in elections. Extra money has been released to enable the political parties to do this. This appears to be working, the groups which are normally associated with low turnout figures were well represented at the elections. The official evaluation report however indicated that it was not possible to talk about significant results in the short term.

In addition, ambassadors were appointed who, after receiving training, acted as election information officers and election motivators. They concentrated on immigrant groups in the run-up to the 2002 elections. Valuable results were achieved, turnout increased in the housing areas targeted by the ambassadors. The report points out however that the results could not be precisely measured and that hard and fast pronouncements would not be wise. Another initiative to encourage people from foreign backgrounds to stand as candidates may also have influenced the outcome. To encourage Somali women to get involved in politics, study groups, seminars and conferences were set up, in addition to a programme on local television. A favourable result was that women and young girls from the same background were able to exchange opinions and ideas that would possibly not have been heard if the debate had been held in a larger setting. In November 2001, the Swedish government took stock of the ways in which new arrivals could quickly get access to more knowledge about the Swedish political system. It also listed the elements that were necessary to achieve a society with


a high level of political participation. Verbal information would have to be passed on to the new arrivals in their home language. For this purpose, the designated organisation – the Swedish Integration Board - needs teachers who speak the foreign language as well as Swedish and have knowledge of Swedish social culture. In an effort to eliminate obstacles that people looking to exert more influence in politics may encounter, the government has started a programme to encourage an active attitude among various ethnic groups. The ‘Government Commission of Inquiry on the Political Integration of Immigrants’, which analyses how the distribution of influence can be improved, is responsible for this. The Commission will also pay attention to the question of how citizens from different ethnic backgrounds are described and defined in the media and in political debates. Whether negative reporting poses an obstacle to political participation by minorities remains to be seen.





Citizen Participation Programme

Various Finnish ministries have jointly set up a policy programme, namely the Citizen Participation Programme41. The aim of this is to strengthen Finnish democracy from the bottom up, by working together with other ministries. It consists of various projects relating to citizenship education, social participation and active citizenship. Twenty projects are currently underway. This broad government programme was set up in response to the new challenges which the government is facing in relation to social capital, participation by citizens and the state of democracy in general. There is also a feeling in Finland that social ties are weaker than they used to be. There is a sense that citizens are distancing themselves from politics and their fellow citizens. A number of projects are discussed briefly below. Some of these are dealt with in greater detail. The programme got underway in October 2003 and the various projects have been launched since then. The Ministry of Justice has completed the projects Democracy 2007 Committee,42 the referendum and popular initiative, election information and voter activation and a study into the how elections and elected representatives function. The Ministry of Justice has one ongoing project, namely Your (improving the public sector feedback system). The Ministry of Education has several ongoing projects, namely the Civil Society 2006 Committee, a project that promotes education in schools and in organisations for active citizenship, the Project for Youth Inclusion, Hear the Citizens – Draft Wisely43 and finally Participation in Information Networks. The third ministry responsible for a number of projects is the Ministry of the Interior, which is working on a strategy to develop local democracy. It is also running the Municipal Democracy Audit, in which the other ministries also play a role.
Background and aims

The aim is for the programme to make it possible for ordinary, individual citizens to have a greater influence on politics, so that representative democracy can function more effectively. Finland has a self-governing system at the local level, that is, there is a high degree of direct and indirect democracy in the municipalities.


Finland has a tradition of active citizenship, a flourishing civil society and broad social and political participation by citizens. The most recent change was the directly elected president of the republic. Accession to the European Union is also regarded as a radical change to the Finnish democracy. Nevertheless, the Finns believe that they have sufficient reason for a programme as described above, because the turnout for both national and decentralised elections has dropped by 20 percentage points in recent years. This means that Finland scores lower than its neighbouring countries Sweden and Denmark. The drop in voter turnout is most striking in the case of young voters. One ray of hope is that the Finns have a high level of confidence in the institutions in their country. Finland is not one of the leaders in terms of political participation, however. Finland needs to ensure higher voter turnout, to improve the opportunities for political parties to carry out their tasks, to introduce new forms of citizen participation and consultation, and to make it easier for citizens to see at what levels and in what ways public decision-making processes take place so that they can have a better chance of gaining access to the decision-making arenas. The latter point relates to local, national, European and even global decision-making and all the levels in-between. The programme also indicates how Finland wants to shape its integration into Europe, namely by strengthening municipal self-governance. According to the Finnish government, citizenship as a basis for democracy should intensify all the democratic acts of the citizen, including those at other government levels, such as the elections of the European Parliament.
Key objectives

1 2 3


The programme as described above is in fact a process in which the current state of democracy, the necessary changes, the aims and the practical implementation of these are being shaped by means of a government-wide discussion and the exchange of knowledge and experiences. The programme aims to achieve the following: Schools must pay attention to active citizenship according to the principle of lifelong learning; The legal and administrative system within which civil society is located must be suitable and must not hamper participation; Both traditional and new channels by means of which citizens are able to participate must be improved so that they can ultimately guarantee group processes in an active community; The structures and practices of representative democracy must be in good order and also meet, and grow along with, changing social needs. A number of interesting projects are discussed below.



Hear The Citizens – Draft Wisely
This project was based on the idea that increasing responsiveness and participation would also increase the openness of the government. According to the Finnish Ministry of Finance, if the government lets itself be seen, to an increasing degree, as being open and as having a large amount of relevant knowledge, this will raise confidence in the government. It is regarded as extremely important that citizens trust the information they receive from the government, as otherwise the government’s task would be unnecessarily hampered. The Hear The Citizens project44 was also set up to increase participation in decision-making and therefore the quality of this decision-making. It must in other words support representative democracy. A study was carried out to find out what was going on and how exactly the project should be structured. A survey was carried out among civil servants in various ministries and members of civil society organisations. The latter group saw itself as the party that gives its opinion and provides expert advice when policy is drawn up. Civil servants were more positive about the way this was done in practice than the civil society organisations. Both parties felt the same about the question of whether the social organisations can influence the formation of policy. However, the social organisations were alone in their opinion that the number of opportunities to participate currently available would have to be increased. The idea behind the project was that all ministries had to think about how to put ‘Hear The Citizens’ into practice. This would require diverse and interactive information strategies. Leadership training at a ministry would also have to include civil servants being trained in how to increase opportunities for participation. Furthermore, more care would have to be taken in dealing with all kinds of feedback and recommendations submitted to the ministry by citizens. According to the project initiators, this would have to lead to actual consultation with citizens much more often than is currently the case. Once this project had been completed, it was clear that the developments in this regard would not automatically continue. But there was political support for this and it was seen as an important aspect of restoring confidence in the government. Hear The Citizens II was therefore launched, in which guidelines were formulated by ministries, their departments and staff. These were based on the initial attempts made by four pilot ministries to consult citizens more frequently. They noted their findings and the most successful policy practices were identified. The ‘code’ has five main topics, namely: careful planning ensures successful consultation; communication is important in all phases; consultation must be sufficiently extensive; a summary of the most important recommendations from citizens must be recorded; consultation must be evaluated.45


Citizenship education

Citizenship education46 is structured via the principle of lifelong learning. This means that democratic knowledge and skills are taught at various levels in education, such as at primary schools, in secondary education and in adult education. Furthermore, there are other social organisations where people can train their democratic skills, such as student and pupil associations, sport or hobby associations and finally volunteers’ projects and voluntary organisations. These social organisations are the places where citizens learn democratic skills and are regarded as important by the Finnish Ministry of Justice. A number of instruments that have been proposed are discussed briefly below.

Firstly, there is a national network of teachers, where experiences can be exchanged with the aim of shaping citizenship education more effectively as part of education as a whole. Related to this, but different in nature, is the project ‘Citizen Participation in Teacher Training’, a collaborative project between teachers and people who work in a municipality as officials or politicians. The idea behind this is that representatives from schools and politics can learn from each other. Via the ties with the municipality, citizenship education can go further than just teaching material and classroom discussions. Visits can also be made to the municipality to experience politics in action.

Secondly, educational institutions that pay attention to democratic and social skills receive support from the government. Yet another project is the Youth Participation Project, which works continuously on improving the opportunities for young people to participate in the public domain and ensures that young people are not marginalised or excluded from the public decision-making process. Finally, there is the national education project relating to the media which ensures that citizens learn to regard media reporting with a critical eye and to form their own independent opinion, instead of simply accepting incorrect assumptions from politicians and the media as true.


Social activity
Another project of the Citizens Participation Programme relates to encouraging social activity in society47. The aim of this is to create a participatory and multi-


dimensional civil society in which important topics are discussed and that acts as an intermediary between the state and society in that it responds to the needs of society. Civil society as such also has an educational role because it can act as a school for democracy, by providing the competencies, the network and the pathways that lead to a greater role in representative democracy for each citizen. The belief is that through the actions of civil society, the social capital will develop into a good basis for a healthy democracy. In this regard it is first and foremost important to have strong relationships between civil society and politics. A government can only be responsive if it is aware of what is going on in society at all times. Citizens can best be reached via the organised links of civil society. As part of this aim, research has been started into the role of young people in civil society and how this can be increased. A second aim is to create various links between scholarship, research, educational institutions and NGOs, so that civil society can be strengthened in a way that is well thought-out and well researched. A third aim is to support immigrants in starting up organisations so that they can disseminate their own cultural identity, while at the same time integrating into Finnish society as active entrepreneurs who contribute to the cultural diversity of society.


Representative democracy
The last key aim of the Finnish Citizen Participation Programme is to improve the functioning of representative democracy48. Elections should awaken citizens’ interest, procedures should be accessible and public opinion should be translated into political points of view. A number of practical aids are available to give an initial impetus to achieving the aforementioned objectives. Research is being carried out in municipalities into the state of democracy (Municipal Democracy Audit project). The aim of this is to derive a model that can be used by municipalities to define and improve their democratic task. Secondly, the representative role of the councillors is being defined in collaboration with the political parties. Action patterns are being scrutinised, with the relationship between voters and elected representatives taking centre stage. The aim is to achieve a local democracy with a stronger external focus. Councillors must give thought to their own democratic task, as separate from their day-to-day practice. Finally, participation projects have been started highlighting the theme ‘citizens and democracy’. Local representatives have taken up a pioneering role in this regard.


The participating ministries have set a number of aims to be achieved by them and by society. Finland wants to be one of the best countries in Europe in terms of citizenship, citizenship education and citizen participation, children must have a good knowledge of citizenship issues, young Finns must achieve at least average scores in relation to their European counterparts and no single group in society should score less than 50% in terms of election turnout.


Great Britain

In Great Britain both the government and social organisations have worked hard on making democracy sustainable and keeping what works. The aim is to have more involved citizens, an aim that is to be achieved by means of a strong focus on citizenship. Various social organisations, such as the Youth Voting Network (33), the Institute for Citizenship (34) and the Citizenship Foundation (35) contribute to this in their own ways. The Electoral Commission (30) ensures that initiatives are introduced in this regard via its recommendations for government policy and legislation. How the government and the social organisations supplement one another in terms of promoting democracy is described below.


The Electoral Co m m i s s i o n
This Commission49 was set up five years ago. Transparency is an important aim and the modernisation of the electoral process is also on the agenda. This is expressly not about making changes to the electoral system as such, as this falls outside the mandate of the Commission. The Commission conducts a great deal of research, for example a paper on the possible introduction of a duty to vote at elections will appear at the beginning of 2006. The Commission also makes recommendations to the government. For example, parliament is currently dealing with a document (the ‘Electoral Administration Bill’) which recommends that various modernisation plans be implemented in respect of elections.50 ‘Public Awareness’ is also a key topic at present. The Commission has been allocated a budget of 7.5 million pounds for this. The programme has the task of making voters aware of the forthcoming elections via advertisements in various media. Attempts are being made to emphasise the importance of politics in a way that appeals to young people (in addition to the other groups in society where there has been a decline in election turnout). One example of the British approach is the workshops which were organised for 25,000 young people in collaboration with voluntary organisations such as ‘Muslim Youth’ and various youth and crisis centres. Educational games have been developed and ‘mock elections’ organised to help provide voters with information. The individual sessions have received very positive evaluations, but no long-term results are available yet. Young people can


also find out more information on the website Each year, the Commission draws up a plan, which always takes the next five years into account. The challenges for the coming year are to bring about fair parliamentary elections, to prepare for a possible national referendum on the European Constitution and to take care of a number of changes to electoral law. The Commission has been advocating the last point for a number of years already. In the coming years, the Commission will try to increase citizens’ involvement in the democratic process, to maintain its role as an institution guarding the transparency of the electoral process, and finally, to assist those who stand as candidates. The Commission also plans to strengthen its relationships with stakeholders, such as political parties and other civil society groups. All the institutions referred to below work together with the Electoral Commission. All projects and publications came about in consultation with the Commission.


Gender and Political Participation
In the paper of April 2004,52 researchers make suggestions to the Electoral Commission about reducing the difference in political involvement and participation between men and women. Part of the ‘Public Awareness’ programme is specially geared towards women. The Electoral Commission tries to ensure that citizens have basic knowledge about (local) politics and elections via the provision of information. In this respect, the Electoral Commission does not organise projects itself, but subsidises organisations that submit appropriate proposals.53 Within this framework, a number of campaigns have been undertaken in Great Britain to get women (primarily women from a foreign background, who participate the least) more involved in politics. Examples of successful projects are training, work placements, appointing a mentor, memberships intended specifically for women and finally financial incentives to encourage organisational innovation. The latter involves trying to achieve more participation by women by updating and altering organisations which have usually been set up from a masculine perspective. Organisations which specifically focus on making politics more woman-friendly and on supporting women and their political aspirations are also supported. In concrete terms, this means that meetings must be held at more suitable times both in the organisations themselves and in politics in general. Furthermore, childcare must be available for politically active women. Women, the study shows, are more interested in local than national politics. The researchers recommend to the political parties that they make use of this and tailor the recruitment of members and active members to the lifestyle of female citizens. Postal voting and the emphasis placed on this in political campaigns may also


increase the turnout and possibly even political involvement. Since postal voting was introduced, the turnout among women has increased sharply and the result could be strengthened even further by simplifying the registration process.54


Securing the Vote55
The Commission believes that the following changes must be made to the political system in order to guarantee lasting public confidence55. First of all, voters must (continue to) have sufficient opportunities to be able to cast their vote. The polling station must remain the most important place to vote, but the Commission continues to look for additional methods, including electronic voting. It is however important not to lose sight of requirements in respect of privacy and procedural justice in this regard. The public must also have faith in a new method before it is introduced. Postal voting is an important example of the expansion of the possibilities on offer. Privacy has priority in this regard, however, and must be guaranteed at all times. The deadline for applying to vote by post would have to be moved from six to eleven days before polling day, so that there is more time to deal with all the applications properly. Not only are new methods of voting being introduced, but the old methods are also being improved. They are becoming more customer-friendly and have been simplified in terms of voter registration and voting at polling stations.


Youth Voting Network, recommendations to British institutions
A report entitled ‘A Young Person’s agenda for democracy’ (2002/2003) contains recommendations from the Youth Voting Network56 to politicians, the government, the Electoral Commission and the media. These relate to (re-)forging links between young people and politics. The network consists of a number of organisations that deal with democracy and participation, with young British people as their target group. The recommendations also came from the ‘Children and Young People Unit’ (CYPU) and the Yvote?/Ynot? project:
Politicians and young people

First of all, the report discusses politicians. They should make more visits to schools and youth groups. This has proved to work well in the past, young people were encouraged to deepen their knowledge of politics and the representative got input for his own agenda. Politicians should also invest in contact with young


people between elections, the Youth Voting Network argues. In addition, politicians should develop skills in ways of working with young people who do get involved in the decision-making process. National youth organisations could encourage this via the political parties. A third recommendation for politicians is that they should not use the contact they already have with children (‘I have children of my own’) as an excuse. Young people must be encouraged to take an active part in political debate on a much greater scale, including those who do not normally come into contact with politics. A fourth recommendation is directed at politicians at the local level, to the effect that they should make it possible for young people to talk to elected representatives. Politicians should therefore also see young people as part of their support network. Finally, each party should gear its recruitment activities towards young people as well. In this way, they could start the political learning process at an early stage and would probably remain politically active. Furthermore, these people could act as contact persons who speak the same ‘language’ as other young people who want to know more about politics. A recommendation aimed at young people themselves is that they should also take the initiative, politicians are open to ideas and they should therefore speak out. Seen within the framework of putting citizenship education into practice, these are striking recommendations which can be useful for all politicians. To create a healthy democracy in the long term, it is important that young people are not forgotten.
Government and Elections Commission

The recommendations made by young people in relation to the government and the Elections Commission relate to the provision of information, among other things. Young people can best be reached via the internet, with posters and at the cinema. Young people must be made aware of all relevant initiatives for young people started by the government and must be given the opportunity to get involved. Other points are having a say and the provision of information in this regard. Pupils can participate at school, and this opportunity must be retained. The government must ensure that schools have the necessary instruments to provide citizenship education. Finally, there must be consultation about altering the minimum voting age. Young people must be involved in the debate on this subject and must be given the opportunity to influence this.

Recommendations for the media relate to closing the gap between young people and politicians. The media plays an important role in recording information in a youth-friendly manner, filtering out the relevant information for young people and providing information in general.


Institute for Citizenship
Introducing citizenship education

Citizenship education was introduced in Great Britain in September 2005 as a supplementary element of the national curriculum in force at all schools. It has been called one of the government’s most radical policy documents. The subject was introduced relatively smoothly, without much political resistance or fuss in the media. All at once, the scheme was in place, without having had any prior public support in society and the educational sector. The subject citizenship is now taught at all British schools, except in Scotland. In 1998, the then British Minister of Education charged an advisory group with the task of investigating how democracy could be taught to pupils. As a result of this, the subject citizenship became compulsory in secondary schools in 2002. According to the Dutch Embassy in London, the subject is comparable to the subject social studies taught in the Netherlands. It is hoped that all pupils leaving school will act as fully-fledged democratic citizens, will have good general knowledge and communicative skills, will feel responsible for their fellow citizens and, finally, will know their rights and obligations as citizens in a democracy57.
Citizenship in the classroom

The subject citizenship is actually an extension of the school assembly. Around once a week, all the pupils come together in the morning. This meeting is not just to deal with school-related matters but also to draw pupils’ attention to special events and/or the celebration of certain religious festivals or a particular occurrence. This can also be seen as a lesson in citizenship. Schools have a certain room for manoeuvre in making decisions about how to fit the new subject into the curriculum. Citizenship lessons are in principle taught to 11 - 16 year olds; usually one hour per week. This is not a compulsory examination subject, however. There are therefore schools where little attention is paid to the material for 14 - 16 year olds, unless the school decides that pupils have to pass an examination in this at the age of 16 (General Certificate Secondary Education examination - GSCE). The school also decides whether the subject is taught as part of history, or as part of “European Studies” or “PSHE/Personal Social Health Education”. The topics that can be covered are extremely diverse and offer a great deal of choice. Teachers have the freedom to develop the lessons and/or to make use of a textbook. The latter is sub-divided into themes such as: the police, the animal world, laws and rights, local authorities, crime and safety, the environment, human rights


and the parliament. There are currently plans to introduce the subject for 16 - 18 year olds as well.
Supplements to the policy by the Institute for Citizenship

Teachers complain about a lack of training and experience in putting across the material in the right way. Moreover, the general opinion is that citizenship is not something that can be learned in a classroom alone. But how can this be rectified? Children also have to train their skills. School boards and active citizenship in youth organisations are at least as important as knowledge and information.58 The Institute for Citizenship has studied citizenship and explained how it can best be taught. This supplements the government’s policy on introducing citizenship education. Schools have been demanding supplementary information, tips and programmes to enable them to successfully incorporate citizenship into the curriculum. The foundation answers the question of what citizenship is, how the school can function as a community and how teachers should deal with the subject in practice. These are very practical tips, varying from the topics that can be discussed in class to exercises that can be set for the pupils.
Aims and working definitions

The information that pupils are given during the course consists of three parts, namely knowledge and understanding (what is citizenship, local authorities, human rights, the environment and waste management), communication (debating skills, interview skills, research skills and presentation skills) and finally participation and action (how to make friends and influence people, how to break the ice in a new situation, how to participate in a meeting, how to vote). The Institute has defined citizenship education as: ‘practical ways in which pupils can be involved and influence how decisions are made in their community’. Active citizens: have social and moral responsibilities and recognise this signal and communicate the needs of specific groups in society know the institutions and systems which are active in society have learned the skills of political activism in the broadest sense of the word. In an attempt to make society aware of active citizenship, the Institute points out that politics and political education do not just revolve around voting. Although they are about voting, they are also about exercising influence via politics, thinking about ways to spend tax money, and publicity, or how this can be used to achieve a (political) goal or air an opinion. Active citizens must also know how to reach a platform when they deem this necessary.


Local politics

The Institute has for example developed teaching material aimed at giving insight into ways in which the local council can be put into action and influenced. First of all, pupils learn how a council works, set up mock meetings and deal with documents. They become familiar with the municipal buildings and get to know a number of elected representatives. One practical exercise recommended by the Institute is the following. Pupils are given a hypothetical budget (36,000 pounds in Great Britain), and debate how this should be spent at a meeting. The money must be spent in a way that ensures that the entire local community can benefit from this. In this way, young people learn to think about the status of public resources and the moral obligation to use these in the general interest. This means that pupils will be alert to any wrong decisions made by their own local council.
Ev a l u a t i o n

Schools in Great Britain are given a great deal of freedom in determining their own teaching programme.59 This means that the subject is taught more intensively at some schools than at others. Teachers have not in general seen this freedom in a positive light. The work of the Institute for Citizenship has in general been regarded as a welcome addition in terms of content and support. The lessons and recommendations resulting from the use of the teaching material at schools indicate that it has nevertheless been a success.60 The case studies show that the correct use of the material and the models has led to more politically and socially involved young people, primarily because they have become better informed citizens. There is still a lot of work to be done, however: the provision of information to schools still leaves much to be desired. The Institute passes all the information on to the various departments at the relevant ministry and the educational organisations that design the curriculum. All information (even the teaching material) is also available on the Institute’s website.61 A second recommendation that came out of the project relates to the cooperation between schools and social or political organisations. These collaborative arrangements ensure that young people can continue to develop their new knowledge and skills in practice. An important aim of the Institute is and continues to be to encourage these links, since too few British schools take the initiative themselves. Young people can have a positive influence on the development of educational sources and should therefore be consulted more often by schools. Involving pupils when developing educational materials can ensure that the teaching material is more relevant. When designing their lessons, teachers must assess whether the material is relevant (it must address young people’s concerns, the topics must be


relevant), realistic (pupils will get involved in politics at an earlier stage if people are realistic about their chances of actually influencing politics) and topical (pupils are more likely to be interested in issues that are current in society).


Citizenship Foundation
This is an independent charity that aims to encourage individuals to develop more political commitment62. The Foundation achieves its aims by means of education in the areas of law, democracy and society. One of the Foundation’s most interesting and creative projects is the ‘I was a teenage governor’ project. The project has been organised in collaboration with the ‘Institute for Public Policy Research’. The initiators believe that junior members of representative councils or boards of governors have a positive influence on changes in the education system. They are called ‘agents of change’. At the moment, all schools are entirely free to decide whether or not they want to participate in the project and allow a pupil to take part in the decision-making process. Thirteen schools have registered for the pilot project. From September 2004 onwards, one or more pupils will have a seat on their decision-making bodies. The pilot project will test a number of hypotheses, namely that co-determination in whatever form - has a positive influence on the culture and ethos of a school. That the pupils who gain experience as governors can benefit from this in their future life and are encouraged to set a good example, and will in all probability manifest full citizenship. That citizenship is furthered by increasing the opportunities to participate at school in general. That, finally, the co-determination bodies and the boards in which pupils participate will function better because of the positive and creative input of the pupils. The difficult questions that remain and must be answered if the pilot project is to be implemented on a large scale relate to issues such as the confidentiality of documents, the possible exclusion of pupils who perform less well or who are less popular, and the cultural changes that professional administrators must make if they have to share part of their decision-making competency with pupils. The plan for the ‘I was a teenage governor’ project is as follows. Between August and December 2003, material was developed and the policy preparations carried out. Research was conducted into the schools’ background and the co-determination structures in place at that time. Interested schools could pay a visit to Development Day in October, where the project was discussed and information was available. The fund raising and writing the final pilot proposal also had to be completed by December 2003. From January 2004 onwards, each participating school was inspected. Models were set up for the election of young governors. Interested


pupils were trained to prepare them for elections and for the position itself. Information was also disseminated and efforts made to raise the awareness of both pupils and administrators. The project is running from September 2004 to July 2006 and the elected pupils are now on the respective boards. During this period, the results will be assessed by means of internal and external evaluations. In the summer of 2006, the evaluation will be completed and the plan for a possible large-scale introduction of the project will be released. The best practices will be passed on to schools, as well as models with points for attention and pitfalls. This will take the form of a public report entitled ‘Making Pupil Governorship Work’ and will be available to everyone on the internet. As can be seen from the project plan, the results are not yet known.


The funding of political parties
In December 2004, the Electoral Commission issued a series of recommendations relating to support for political parties63. In order to carry out their activities, political parties are dependent on the financial support of the government. Some parties find it difficult to finance all their activities and have to negotiate loans. The first recommendation is that political parties must themselves set limits (or this should be done by means of regulations) and that the spending of each candidate during his or her campaign should also be curbed. The Commission assumes that the electorate will benefit more from campaigns where the candidate directly addresses the voter. The amounts released for the party and for the candidate must be determined more in accordance with this principle. The Commission recommends that the expenditure by a candidate be reduced, so that more money is left over for the activities at local level. Political donations are one of the most important sources of income for a party. If a few donations form too large a part of the party’s income, then certain interests may bear more weight in political decisions than others. This could affect the legitimacy of these decisions and be bad for democracy. Opinions differ on this sensitive topic. Prohibiting large donations is not a solution, however, because political parties would then experience significant problems. The Commission is looking at the consequences of such a decision, and also at alternative forms of subsidies for political parties. Political parties must furthermore be encouraged to increase the money that they have by spending it on recruitment activities for new members.



Conclusion: the plans up to 2009
In 2004, the British government laid down plans for the period up to 200964, with justice, the rights of the individual citizen and democracy taking centre stage. The latter point is of interest to this study and relates to ways of encouraging citizens to become involved in politics (‘political engagement’). In 2004/05, the public education programme has been continued, and the option of postal voting added, among other things, for the European elections. During the period 2005/06, the government will respond to the proposals of the Electoral Commission in relation to party subsidies and the minimum voting age. In 2006/07, electronic registration will come into force and ‘e-voting’ will be high on the agenda. In 2007/08, the ‘multi channel elections bill’ will be launched and after 2008 electronic voting must be possible for the first time. This is the agenda for democracy in Great Britain in the coming years.



In Austria there are three issues in relation to democracy which are currently receiving a great deal of attention from politicians65. First of all, the focus is on political education. After this topic almost ran aground in the political arena, a discussion generating support for this issue nonetheless got off the ground among non-governmental organisations this year. The second hot topic at national level is e-government. Knowledge and expertise is being developed on this subject in the Council of Europe and in the European Union. However, there are practical and ethical objections about the lawfulness of elections and decisions which are brought about by means of electronic instruments. Many feel that the term push-button democracy has negative connotations. No country has as yet introduced any form of electronic voting on a large scale. This topic is high on the agenda in Austria. The third issue is not a new one, but is instead a topic always on the agenda of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, namely direct democracy. Austria has a combination of representative and direct democracy. These both complement and compete with one another. These three topics will be discussed below, as well as the related instruments and projects.


Politische Bildung
At the end of the 20th century, the Austrian government also gave some thought to the question of what challenges the legislator and administration could expect at the start of the new millennium66. Political education came high on the social agenda because Austria was experiencing a so-called politicisation of society. The existing education had to be reviewed and strengthened, but political parties showed no inclination to start this process. Organisations that dealt with citizenship and political education ultimately played an important role. In Austria there are a number of problems which hamper the introduction of effective political education. Once the political difficulties have been overcome, apathy among those who are supposed to implement the policy will be the largest problem. Those who determine how the curriculum is put together at schools show no desire to cooperate in the education plans. The existing political education had to be updated because it was geared too much towards factual knowledge. The transfer of knowledge is necessary as the basis of

the course, but pupils must also learn to form opinions. The aim is to increase willingness to participate in democracy among pupils, in such a way that they continue to contribute to democracy throughout their adult lives. Political skills must not only be learned in the classroom, but also in daily life. In short, a link must be made between learning at a school desk and the politics in the relevant municipality or district. The question is then how political education is to be labelled and how much space it should take up in the curriculum. There are however no universal training methods available for political education. Nor is there any standardised training for teachers. Because of this, there is a risk in Austria that attempts to start up political education will amount to no more than individual initiatives by a few schools. Despite all these start-up problems, the aim in 2005 is to introduce political education in Austria on a large scale by releasing additional resources. There is an awareness that this topic, that has generated heated debate, is still at risk of running aground. The Democracy Centre is nevertheless organising a network of people and institutions who/which exercise a lot of influence on education in Austria. The plans which have come out of this network for setting up political education will in all probability be financed by the government. The aim is to have a standardised training programme for teachers and a general political education programme at all schools. In this regard a distinction should be made between the various school levels.


E-Government and cyberdemocracy
The e-government platform and the e-corporation board were set up and a list of all the activities already being carried out was drawn up. In March 2004, the E-Government Act was adopted, which meant that Austria was one of the first Member States to implement the agreements made in the European Union in practice67. Safety and trust are given as the key elements of an electronic government and an electronic democracy. Exclusion is also a potential risk, even if 60% of Austrians have access to the internet. In this regard, Austria has the largest number of people who make use of the internet in comparison to the other EU Member States.68 A large part of the discussion relates to improving citizens’ access to the services provided by the administration. Another discussion, which is taking place more in the background, relates to the importance of ICT for democracy. Cyberdemocracy is seen as the instrument for interactive political communication, by means of which all citizens can be informed and encouraged to get involved in the discussion. This is based on the assumption that more citizens will participate in the public decision-making process because it is accessible and not restricted to


a particular time or place. The idea is also that electronic instruments will make direct democracy more attractive. The cyberdemocracy optimists are arguing for the spectator democracy to be dismantled and participatory democracy to be introduced with the help of ICT. According to Peter Filzmayer,69 this has the following potential advantages: place and time become irrelevant (people can participate and vote wherever and whenever they want, provided that they have access to the internet); information can more easily be disseminated, updated and located; increased interaction between political elites and citizens; more opportunities to air opinions and interests; increasing political participation (this is the theoretical expectation); a reduction in the financial costs of information and communication. ICT could however pose a number of threats to the health of democracy: an increased amount of information and lower quality; the rationality of the internet may obscure the soft side that colours every political debate; the possibility of abuse and fraud; social isolation because of a lack of personal face-to-face contact; more aggression and less emphasis on decorum in a discussion, which can adversely affect the quality thereof. Political education is touched on in relation to cyberdemocracy, because this form of democracy requires different democratic skills from the citizen. Some skills, such as non-verbal communication and verbal skills are less relevant in a cyberdemocracy. Furthermore, a not insignificant minority of all citizens - those who have no access to the internet - run the risk of being excluded from public debate. Elderly people are particularly at risk of this. What must be investigated before any form of electronic participation is introduced is the question of how this will affect society. Furthermore, agreement must also be reached about how cyberdemocracy is to be approached in practical, social and ethical terms.





Size and Democracy

Switzerland, together with California, is the leader in the area of direct democracy. The paper71 on which this information has been based deals with the relationship between the size of a municipality and the effect this has on (the vitality of ) democracy. The paper also gives an evaluation of democracy at the local level. Switzerland has relatively small municipalities which have moreover had the same geographic and organisational borders for a very long time. The municipal institutions are also well-established organisations which are well known to citizens. The paper discusses empirical results in respect of the political system, the existence and use of direct democratic instruments and participation by citizens. The objective of the Swiss study is to get a better understanding of two presuppositions with regard to direct democracy. The first is that direct democracy is more likely to thrive in a small unit and secondly that direct democracy has a positive effect on citizen participation70.

Swiss municipalities experience size-related effects particularly if they have fewer than 5000 inhabitants. Turnout is lower at elections in smaller municipalities. Municipalities with between 5000 and 8000 inhabitants display few size-related effects. Despite the limited number of inhabitants per municipality, it has the right to decide on numerous diverse topics. Moreover, the tax area is relatively large. In Switzerland, the subsidiarity requirement (the general rule that all regulations must be enacted at the most appropriate level) is therefore an important principle. Social security and public health are examples of issues which are to a large extent regulated decentrally. As has already been stated, this is in contrast to the farreaching fiscal autonomy which is enjoyed by municipalities. The municipality is also largely responsible for organising the political organisations and institutions.
Local democracy

Swiss direct democracy is very different to other (plebiscitary) forms of democracy. Referenda are always about a decision that the government has already made. They give citizens the opportunity to block this power by voting ‘No’. Initiatives, on the


other hand, create opportunities and possibilities instead of paralysing politics, according to the Swiss. It seems as if ordinary citizens in Switzerland have the role of setting up frameworks which is fulfilled by the municipal council in the Netherlands. In Switzerland, the executive body of the municipality is directly elected by the people. There are two options for carrying out the function that the municipal council has in the Netherlands, and Swiss councils can choose which one they wish to follow. There is either a parliament with elected representatives who are directed and monitored by means of supplementary direct democratic instruments, or the municipality has a direct democratic legislature, consisting of an assembly of all citizens. In the first case, the council has the parliamentary instruments, such as the resolution, amendment and the initiative. Citizens also have the right of initiative vis-à-vis the council, and there is also the referendum. In the second case, the local assembly of all citizens is empowered to direct the executive power itself via the referendum and/or initiative. Citizens also have the right of initiative and referendum (in addition to the assembly of all citizens), just as in the parliamentary system. Approximately 20 percent of the municipalities have a local parliament (the first option).
Instruments available to citizens

The instruments which citizens have at their disposal at the local level in the case of a parliamentary local system have more or less the same form as they have at national level, although the citizen’s influence stretches much further at the local level. In the municipality of Zurich, the citizens have four different instruments at their disposal: the citizen initiative, the personal initiative, a binding referendum (the most important instrument for the most important decisions, such as changes to the basic local law) and an optional referendum. In municipalities which have an assembly of all citizens instead of a parliament, all decisions have more or less the same weight as a binding referendum. A major difference is however that only the citizens who participate in the assembly of all citizens are asked for their opinion. Citizens who stay at home do not get a say on the matters on the agenda. They are however informed about the agenda of the meeting in question and are therefore given the chance to have their say.
The influence of size

The report cites Dahl and Tufte,72 who say that political participation is not influenced by the size of the municipality. In a country where politics are accessible and comprehensible, the rule that, in relative terms, small municipalities have more participating citizens than large ones applies. However, in the case of direct


participation we generally observe a negative correlation between participation and the size of a municipality. The report also highlights the fact that there is a strong link between the size of the municipality and the form of the legislative bodies. Small municipalities usually have an assembly of all citizens, while larger municipalities have a representative body. Larger municipalities also have more interest groups which are furthermore largely independent of the municipality. This means that these organisations increasingly use the citizen initiative in a more formalised manner, in order to achieve their aims. Moreover, the larger the municipality, the lower the turnout at assemblies of all citizens and elections. Finally, the use of direct democratic instruments is greater in larger municipalities than in smaller ones. In the French and Italian-speaking areas, there is a greater preference for a representative body. This may be to do with the political culture of France and Italy, which is not strongly geared towards direct democracy. This means that a (more) direct democracy does not work everywhere and that its success is highly dependent on the political culture of the country in question.
Co n c l u s i o n s

The report further deals with the question of what can be learnt from this Swiss case. According to the report, a small municipality is better for participation. After all, more citizens attend the assembly of all citizens and go to the polling booth in smaller municipalities. The Swiss explain this on the basis of theories derived from social psychology and political economy. They then come to a number of conclusions. The first conclusion is that the influence the citizen has is greater in a smaller municipality. Secondly, there is more identification with the municipality and the issues when the municipality is small. Thirdly, social control is greater in smaller municipalities. Other countries can learn something from Switzerland, but the fact that the conditions in Switzerland are fundamentally different to those in other countries must be taken into account. Municipalities are very small, have a great deal of autonomy and discretion, many decisions at the local level have a direct or indirect impact on taxes and Switzerland has a long tradition of direct democracy.




As far as Italy is concerned, the study has only uncovered social activity (no public activity). It is true that the government party Lega Nord is arguing for the Italian republic to be reformed, but the government does not have any specific democracypromoting practices as referred to in this study: “We want to create a Federal State, in which - surely - there will be more democracy, more citizen’s participation to the public questions. We consider federalism and so, the federal reform of our Constitution, the first step to create a political system more democratic and more transparent73.” The policy to promote democracy is not (yet) far enough advanced to make any concrete pronouncements about it. Problems are however being experienced in respect of the collaboration between the state and civil society organisations (CSOs). The CSOs constitute an active civil society where various social problems can be resolved. According to Cittadinanzattiva, a CSO that devotes its time to various social problems, also in relation to participation and inclusivity, the government is not sufficiently open to the efforts of civil society. All the lobbying work has ultimately not resulted in either an allocated budget or a policy programme. Cittadinanzattiva feels that the government is not responsive enough to the various social problems and is not able to take up social initiatives, endorsed by many citizens, in a manner satisfactory to citizens. Practice 40 relates to an explanation of the rule of horizontal subsidiarity. Practice 41 relates to another measure to resolve the problems described above, namely by means of financial incentives.


Art. 118.4 of the Constitution
Italian public debate is currently focusing on the question of how collaboration between the government and civil society can be structured on an equal footing, according to the rule of horizontal subsidiarity introduced into the Italian constitution in 200174. The demand for such a rule came from the CSOs, which felt that there was not enough scope in the public domain to successfully implement social initiatives. The state previously had a monopoly on tackling public problems. Horizontal subsidiarity means that the Italian Republic accepts, recognises and encourages social activities (from CSOs, but also, for example, petitions from individuals).


In short, the rule of horizontal subsidiarity has indeed been formally introduced, but must still be embedded in the society and culture.


In 1997, the ‘general law on non-profit organisations’ was adopted, which ensured that individual persons could deduct their donations from their taxable income. This means that they can donate up to 2,000 euro to charities, without having to pay tax on this. Businesses can do the same up to 2% of their taxable income. The civil society campaign “Più dai, meno versi” (the more you give, the less you pay) ensured that the law was publicised, and members of parliament also helped with this. Italian individuals and businesses now donate more than they previously did, although only 53% of those questioned were aware of the tax incentives and only 20% of that group had actually made use of the scheme. People who made donations without being aware of the scheme donated 92 euro, people who were aware of the scheme donated 212 euro.


South Korea

The current cabinet of President Roh Moo Hyun of South Korea governs in a democracy thanks to the developments after the Cold War during President ThreeKim’s term of office. It is thanks to the latter and the three presidents who followed him from 1987 onwards that fair elections, democratic institutions and a radical reform of the government were brought about. However, this could not be expected to result in a healthy, properly functioning democracy immediately, and there is still a certain degree of corruption and fraud, and the structure of political parties is still rather less than democratic. It is up to President Roh to get rid of these flaws in what is now a fully-fledged democracy. To this end, a political reform programme has been initiated involving five general goals as well as ten general proposals for improving the political order. The most relevant goals and how these are to be achieved are discussed below. All goals form part of the political philosophy of Roh Moo Hyun. That is, they focus on inclusive institutions (no political exclusion of any social group), participation, legitimacy and confidence, the decentralisation of power, the autonomy of social parties (free discussions in the public domain), democratic accountability, checks and balances and, finally, communication between the government and citizens75.


Participating in political parties
Politics should be open and accessible76. One of the initiatives that can contribute to this is the attempt by political parties to involve as many voters as possible in the campaigns so that they can work on the campaigns and get a taste of politics at first hand. The structure of a party should also be accessible and not too complicated for the average citizen. The political parties are putting proposals for achieving these goals into practice. First of all, the members of a political party elect their management. Secondly, political parties must grow by recruiting active members, on the one hand, and sponsors and volunteers who support the party, on the other. Such a party is then a broad party in the literal sense of the word. It is also the responsibility of political parties to give their members as much information as possible about political decision-making in parliament. The party’s behaviour can be criticised by the members via (internet) discussions.



Removing obstacles that reduce access to politics
New politicians should be hindered as little as possible by financial, social, political or other obstacles77. Discrimination by established politicians must be prevented. In other words, steps must be taken to ease the entrance of young or new politicians into the political arena. According to the government, the way to achieve these goals is to remove the restrictions that make it difficult to stand as a candidate and to conduct a campaign. A candidate must be able to make full use of different media to create a public platform which is generally accessible. Secondly, it has been recommended that the Clean Elections System of the state of Maine in the US be adopted. Maine will be adopting the Clean Election Act, which ensures that no governor will in future be elected by accepting money from businesses or other organisations that want to exercise influence on the actions of the governor. After it became apparent that many citizens attach a great deal of importance to ‘clean elections’, a Clean Election Fund was set up in 2005, which raised 2.4 million dollars. The state of Maine wants future elections always to be funded from public funds, and the Clean Election Act will ensure that this is the case. It is rare for someone to be elected without receiving private donations, governor Janet Napolitano from Arizona was the first.78 Existing restrictions on voting must also be dismantled. The voting age in South Korea is being lowered to 18 years to achieve this goal. Finally, the reform programme refers to the importance of discussion and communication. A number of steps need to be taken on all fronts to achieve this aim. Information is seen as the first step towards politics, and a lack of information can be an important reason for not playing a role in politics.


Reducing exclusion: integration and inclusivity
Groups which suffer from discrimination, such as women, people with a foreign background or homosexuals, should, where necessary, be supported in the exercising of their political tasks79. Voting at elections should also preferably be a true reflection of society. Extra efforts specially geared towards underrepresented groups may be needed to achieve this. Safeguarding the plurality and diversity regarded as so important in a democracy is also given as an important point in this regard. The various levels of government (vertical) and the various organisations in society (horizontal) must form a strong network with civil society, which is also called the cement that holds democracy together. How this is to be done is not apparent from the information available and has probably not yet been determined in Korea.


Transparent politics
The aim of the Korean government is to achieve transparent, clean politics80. Politics that cost a great deal of money, are corrupting and have few public accounting mechanisms are not worth pursuing. It is therefore considered necessary to reform the provision of subsidies to political parties. Furthermore, the laws to prevent corruption are being tightened up and standards are being formulated for the financial housekeeping of political parties. This housekeeping must in any event be transparent at all times. The internet is seen as the most important medium for providing and collecting information to achieve this aim as well. A simple but effective measure is making it possible to register as a member of a political party via the internet and to pay the contribution via the internet as well. The two aims (removing obstacles and increasing transparency) come together at this point. Political accountability (for example, making it possible to inspect the budget of a political party and how this is spent) can be implemented extremely well via the internet. As was apparent above, discussions are still underway about the possibility of electronic voting on a large scale, but this is indeed seen as an instrument for strengthening democracy. All that is needed is a plan for the practical and lawful implementation of this.




According to the various persons contacted, not much can be expected from Spain in terms of promoting democracy81. Spain is one of the youngest democracies in this study. Nevertheless, the Spanish are endeavouring to achieve a more inclusive society, as can be seen from the objectives of the EMSI (practice 47). Practice 46 relates to the public campaign for Europe. This policy practice has been included here because boosting European citizenship can also be seen as boosting citizenship in general.


Hablamos De Europa
This major public campaign was launched in Spain in November 200582. It is a large-scale initiative that aims to acquaint citizens with Europe, based on the idea that every Spanish citizen is after all a European citizen. If Europe does not live in the minds of the people, there can be no European democracy. To increase the turnout at elections, attempts are therefore being made to raise Europe’s profile in the minds of the Spanish population in this sustainable way. The campaign focuses on the sectors where the turnout during the referendum was the lowest, that is, particularly people in the small provincial towns and young people. The campaign is decentralised and uses the network that served campaigners well during the referendum campaign. Partners include the Chambers of Commerce, interest and pressure group (social partners) and schools and universities. The relevant department within the government (Z/SGEU) has a limited budget for this undertaking, namely 700,000 euro. Representatives of the European Parliament and the European Commission are closely involved.


The public service institution that is responsible for social immigration in the autonomous federal state of Madrid, the EMSI, was set up by the Department for Social Services with the cooperation of the Directorate-General for Immigration, Development Assistance and Voluntary Work of the federal state of Madrid, under the leadership of the Spanish Red Cross Madrid83. The EMSI was created to promote the training and education of, as well as raising


the awareness of, people from foreign backgrounds and native Spaniards, and is therefore dedicated to achieving an inclusive society. It helps communities to find common ground between various ethnic groups in society. The aim is to achieve higher levels of cultural exchange and a greater degree of integration of immigrants in Madrid. The EMSI functions as a meeting place for different cultures and trains the voluntary workers on which the organisation depends. Problems are identified and solutions are considered with regard to removing cultural barriers, so that it is possible to move towards a culturally enriched society. The co-existence of different cultures has often led to major clashes, something the government wants to prevent in future. The segregated society must become an inclusive society that focuses on the possible cultural enrichment of all ethnic minorities instead of on cultural differences in the negative sense. With these aims in mind, the school has been set up as a centre that is accessible to every person, institution and association that wants to work on the project. Benefits in terms of democracy are an emphasis on voluntary work in a field that affects a lot of people and that represents an urgent problem, as well as efforts to reduce exclusion and a focus on equal opportunities in democracy. Society must not exclude anyone, and therefore a certain level of integration must be achieved in a large city such as Madrid.



Portugal is experiencing substantial problems in terms of involvement, confidence and participation84. The contact persons felt that there was a very large gap between citizens and politics. Citizens believe that representatives do not listen to them and that they work, far removed from the daily lives of citizens, with matters from which citizens should preferably be excluded. But the government has however developed an initiative to do something about this that may be of interest.


Young People’s Parliament
Since 1995, sessions have been organised in the Portuguese parliament for children of school age, to give them first hand experience of the value of democracy. As part of citizenship education, attempts are being made to teach them the skills every citizen needs to be able to participate in a democratic body. The initiative forms part of the ‘School and Parliament’ project that was launched by the Ministry of Education in 1998. Up until 2000, only classes with children of between 10 and 15 years of age were invited. In 2000, a proposal to include 16 to 18 year olds in the project was accepted. According to the current scheme, the Education, Science and Culture Committee is responsible for supporting the project. Each year, this committee defines and evaluates the guidelines and teaching methods that shape the project. The different themes to be discussed in each session are also devised and prepared by the committee. The project runs in various phases during the school year. In addition to the committee, a Project Team was also created to coordinate the sessions. They maintain contact with the various educational institutions in the country. Someone from the ministry takes care of the information about the functioning of the project and is a member of the Project Team. The school pupils take part in various phases. In phase 1, pupils can register and are prepared for what will come next. In phase 2, elections are held, supported by election campaigns organised by the pupils, which lead to an election result. A number of pupils per school can participate in the parliament sessions, they are democratically chosen by their fellow pupils and form a parliamentary group. In phase 3, the elected pupils take part in a number of preparatory meetings at their own school. These meetings are chaired by a number of national coordinators and


attended by representatives of the Ministry of Education. The pupils divide the tasks among themselves (naturally via a democratic procedure) and do preparatory work in respect of the content of the sessions in the parliament. Phase 4 consists of the actual participation by the pupils in the parliament sessions in May and June. Since 2004, this period has been divided into two parts: firstly, preparatory meetings are held per committee, followed by a plenary session. This gives the pupils a first-hand view of how a parliament actually functions. This is regarded as important because of the degree to which pupils can immerse themselves in politics and in the customs and practices of Portuguese democracy. Efforts are made to simulate how an actual democratic debate works in practice as closely as possible. Finally, the pupils are given the opportunity to put questions to members of parliament. The sessions are broadcast live on Canal Parlemento, the public channel for political topics, and since 2003, on the internet as well. A number of senior officials, such as the president of the Assembleia da Republica and the Minister of Education, Culture and Science open and close the day in parliament.



Japan has a number of coherent programmes relating to the promotion of democracy. The Japanese are already looking ahead and are trying to overcome future problems in respect of democracy. Various demographic changes, as well as changes to the lifestyle of Japanese citizens, have stimulated the process of deepening democracy. Efforts are being made to promote democracy in a sustainable manner, usually - and notably - via long-term policy. Japan supports the position that has already made an appearance in other practices, namely that sustainable democracy is a long-term process. A target group that fits in with this is young people. Practice 50 is specially geared towards this group, but young people also implicitly play a role in the other practices to promote a cohesive society.


Towards a Cohesive Society, 2001
This programme relates to one of the six aspects of the government’s social reform plans to achieve a more ‘cohesive society’86. There is a need for this because of the co-existence of more diverse lifestyles, the ageing of the population and a decline in the number of children. A cohesive society is based on independence and a spirit of mutual helpfulness. The community as a whole helps to raise the children, and each person can live his or her life in a way which is satisfactory to him or her, without being hindered by age or disability. Against this background, the directorgeneral of ‘policies on a comprehensive society’ has created a suitable policy framework that will cope with the social developments that are also taking place in Japan. The ‘National Youth Development Policy’ (December 2003) and the ‘safe and peaceful national life’ plan are relevant for this study.


Youth Development Plan
Under the Youth Development Plan87, exchange programmes with various other countries in the world are organised for young Japanese. The idea is to train young people in citizenship so that later on they will be more inclined to live lives where the public interest comes first. The ‘White Paper on Youth 2003’87 refers to a number of initiatives which fit in with the aim of educating young people and giving them the knowledge and skills to be able to make a contribution to democracy.


The Cabinet Office organises various international exchange programmes, such as the ‘International Youth Development Exchange Project’, the ‘Japan-China Youth Friendship Exchange’, the ‘Japan-Korea Youth Friendship Exchange’, the ‘Ship for World Youths’, the ‘Ship for Southeast Asia Youths’, the ‘21st Century Renaissance of Youth Leaders Invitation Program’, and finally the ‘International Youth Village’. In 2002, the ‘Program for the Development of Core Leaders of Social Activities by Youths’ was launched with the primary aim of developing young leaders who would, after this learning experience, always do their best for society. The idea is that the experience of travelling and meeting people from other cultures automatically creates social involvement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also released money for similar projects. In Japan, a great deal of attention is being paid to young people based on the idea that it is not just parents but the whole of society that is responsible for the (political) education of young people.


Safe and Peaceful National Life
Globalisation, information technology and an increasingly diverse society are given as the aspects which have changed the lives of the Japanese in recent decades. The aim is to achieve a ‘safe and peaceful national life89’ by setting up a ‘Quality of Life Policy Bureau’ which focuses on founding and strengthening institutions in society. This keeps an eye on the economy and boosts this if necessary. In addition to acting as an economic driving force, the Bureau also focuses on social aspects of society, for example, by encouraging voluntary activities. This encouragement takes two forms: firstly, there is an ‘operation of the Non-profit Organisation Law’ and secondly, voluntary activities are encouraged. The Bureau forms part of the Cabinet Office that draws up laws relating to non-profit organisations to promote non-profit activities in society. Barriers that prevent people from working on a social problem on a voluntary basis must be removed. Part of the tax burden was removed for voluntary workers in April 2003 (this made non-profit organisations more attractive employers). NPO laws were reviewed in May 2004 and adapted to give voluntary workers more scope to carry out their social task. Furthermore, it is planned to increase the number of non-profit organisations in Japan to 20,000 in 2005.


New Zealand

On 31 October 2005, the ‘Electoral Commission’ issued a report which gave the state of affairs in relation to elections, turnout and participation. Turnout in 2005 was lower than in any other national election since 1978. Maori, young people and ‘pacific peoples’ are less politically involved and active. Research has shown that it is necessary to do something about the declining levels of involvement, because information and education will have no effect if citizens are not interested in these. The report also gives the Commission’s plans to improve the situation.


Young people
Hands Up! – Teacher resource


This is a learning programme for primary and secondary education31. At school, pupils learn about different identities, groups, forms of social action, decisionmaking processes and government systems and what these differences mean in a democracy. This involves topics relating to the concept of citizenship and involvement in society. The intention is for pupils to be encouraged by the teaching programme to become politically active, or in any event socially active. New Zealanders are also convinced that pupils learn much more in practice than in the classroom. The Commission wants pupils to learn the following facts: a citizen has reason to become active in a social action group or a community individuals identify themselves in different ways and belong to different groups and communities groups operate in different ways in relation to the aim and the rules of the group and the roles that citizens play in decision-making processes individuals and groups use different methods to become involved in society and to participate in social activities people have rights and responsibilities the government of New Zealand uses a particular decision-making model, other countries use different ones the political processes in New Zealand make it possible for all citizens to participate at the national and international levels.


Wallace Awards

In June 2005, the commission handed out various awards to a number of people who had developed initiatives to increase the turnout at the 2005 elections. Categories in which awards were given were: organising projects in a number of classes; teaching excellence; dealing with elections in class in a creative manner; and finally, successfully encouraging more political participation by young people.
Youth Law sponsorship

This relates to a legal services centre for young people that gives advice about questions relating to elections and ways of becoming socially or politically involved and helps young people to familiarise themselves with democracy. The centre has an informative function and works pro-actively in addition to providing information on request.


People in New Zealand are aware that the news media play a critical role in democracy. Whether citizens can become well-informed citizens partly depends on the media. The media can also encourage citizens to participate actively in elections and paint the picture that citizens have of public institutions. The Commission issued the book ‘Covering Elections – A Guide for Journalists’,91 published by the ‘New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation’. In response to this book, training courses and workshops were organised which were open to 150 journalists. The underlying idea is that a healthy democracy and a free, critical press will only be in balance when the media and the public institutions work together productively in society. The danger is that a poor relationship between the institutions will lead to decreasing social cohesion. New Zealand is experiencing a trend of declining participation and decreasing turnout at elections, and the media has been assigned an important task in reversing this process.


Education and information for everyone
The Commission has not only thought about education for young people and journalists, but has also set requirements that apply to education in general. Accessible information must be provided about elections, primarily via the website. This information must be of a high quality and must be suitable for all target groups. Specific sources must be added for certain target groups, for example for young people, migrants and Maori. It is also important to collaborate with other parties, particularly non-governmental

organisations. Long-term goals must be laid down, because increasing the turnout at elections cannot be achieved in a sustainable way in the short term. Citizens must understand politics, must build up confidence in this area, must have an understanding of the relevance of voting for their own lives and must be confident that politicians will listen to them and finally each citizen must be aware of the power of his or her vote. The Electoral Commission will devote itself to achieving these goals in the coming years.





Introduction: King Baudouin Foundation
All the information that appears in this study about Belgium comes from the King Baudouin Foundation.92 Nevertheless, the government’s attitude towards promoting democracy in Belgium is clearly visible, thanks to the Foundation’s many reports on government policy. The government and the Foundation also often work together in their efforts to make democracy sustainable. The Foundation was specifically set up to make the lives of Belgian citizens ‘better’. Various departments are responsible for information and projects relating to numerous social aspects (such as social vulnerability, health, art and culture, justice, participation in associations and voluntary work, the economy and the social environment). Social participation is one of the Foundation’s central concerns. Information about and the activities of the Foundation which are relevant for this study are set out below.


In the publication ‘Tussen Woord en Daad’ the Foundation asks whether and how the mass media can increase the social involvement of citizens. Television is seen as an important medium for reaching citizens, because it is the most common recreational activity in Belgium and the rest of the western world and can be informative in nature. The Foundation wants to work together with journalists to get a debate going about this question. The publication summarises and explains journalistic practices which can contribute to participation and involvement. These are discussed briefly below.

First of all, the publication refers to the importance of understandable and accessible information. Since democracy is based on the participation of wellinformed citizens, it is not surprising that this component is highlighted. The media therefore has a filtering and organising role to play in respect of reporting complex social problems which, furthermore, not infrequently require prior legal, economic or political knowledge. Accessibility is seen as important because the information must be and remain available to the citizen. References to sources also increase the accessibility of information. Secondly, importance is attached to information geared towards social (inter)

action. This means that the media must pay sufficient attention to civil society, with the non-governmental organisations that act as the cement of any democracy. Citizens must know not only how to reach the political arena via interest groups, but also what to do if they want to undertake voluntary work. Thirdly, the publication refers to the importance of positive information. Concrete successes achieved by politics do not have to go unnoticed, but reporting must not go too far the other way either. The media should be critical, but there must be a balance and the media should, as far as possible, try to accurately reflect what is actually happening in society. Fourthly, the publication touches on information about structural problems. The background to problems should be illuminated but it is important for journalists not to do this by focusing solely on individual people. People may however be used as a metaphor for the situation or to make the report clearer. Fifthly, the publication highlights critical information, also called the media’s critical monitoring or watchdog function. This basic principle of journalism is still important, but may also be focused on the media’s own sector. Critical introspection is always needed, because a journalist partly determines public opinion and this is a serious responsibility. This issue is related to the ‘Public Journalism’ movement from the US.
The role of the government

The report also looks at the question of what role the government can play in dealing with this issue. Reference is made to a fund for media democratisation, support for initiatives and collaborative projects focusing on activities to strengthen citizenship and participation. This has already been suggested at the international level a number of times, in the form of a collaborative proposal between government and media organisations. The fund could be supported from advertising income from commercial media or, for example, levies.


Democracy Portal
Another organisation affiliated with the King Baudouin Foundation, the Democracy Portal (supported by three ministries93), wants to teach pupils from the fifth year of primary school up to and including the final year of secondary school about democracy and the democratic institutions, give them a sense of how these work and encourage the pupils to participate in politics. To this end, the Democracy Portal organises day programmes for the various classes. Every school can register for a day programme. The programme consists, depending on the pupils’ age group, of an afternoon


spent getting to grips, in an easy and accessible manner, with democratic practices such as participation and involvement. Another opportunity offered by the Portal is constructing a city where democracy - given the game’s structure - is central. This game, Democracity, is a didactic game in which a maximum of 28 people can participate. A third possibility is a visit to a democratic institution and a discussion about participation and involvement. The oldest pupils are encouraged to assess the institutions critically and party programmes are discussed. Teachers have also been taken into account, in the form of teaching material and informative links so that they can prepare for their lessons and pupils’ questions. The Portal has set up a recruitment website which makes teachers aware of the service offered. The message is that the Portal offers teachers opportunities to turn their pupils into citizens-in-the-making.


Voluntary work
As its title indicates, the report to the King Baudouin Foundation deals with Elements for a policy in respect of voluntary workers and voluntary work94. The report was drawn up because of the changing social and legal circumstances that voluntary workers have to face. Belgian voluntary organisations are becoming ever more businesslike since they have to comply with the administrative rules set by the government. Moreover, individual voluntary workers are also having to deal with regulations that make their work, which is to a large extent socially engaged work, less attractive and more complicated. There was a great deal of commotion in Belgian voluntary organisations after the publication of the book ‘status of voluntary workers - problems and solutions’. The author tried to cut through the legal tangle that voluntary workers have to deal with. This proved to be no easy task. Voluntary work is seen as one of the foundations of democracy, and the Belgians according believe that the administrative side of voluntary work should be made as easy as possible to enable voluntary workers to give their full attention to the social problems. 2001 was designated the ‘International year of voluntary workers’. This meant that a great deal of political attention was paid to the topic and, also because of the research work of the King Baudouin Foundation, this led to a number of starting points for revising the legislation.



III Analysis




Studying the various policy practices to promote democracy gives us a better understanding of the different ways in which attempts are being made to strengthen the sustainability of democracy. The practices have been clustered into four categories, based on type. These categories are: Democratic structure (B) Political representation (C) Civil Society (D) Citizenship (E) The above clusters are used to explain what the various countries are doing to strengthen democracy. Section II gave extensive information per country and per policy practice. The context and the reasons for the particular action on the part of the government and the aims of the policy programme or the social institution were discussed. The policy practices were numbered in section II, and this number will always be used when referring to these practices in the following analysis. A (theoretical) introduction is given per cluster, so that it is clear what links the practices discussed. The practices are then analysed, with brief references to a few particularly notable practices. This is followed by a conclusion, giving the most important findings for the relevant cluster.


Democratic Structure
Introduction The democratic structure is a system based on legal or administrative precepts and that determines how elections are organised and - more fundamentally - to what extent direct and indirect forms of democracy alternate with one another. The Netherlands is, to a large extent, a representative or indirect democracy. This means that the periodic elections play an important role in democracy, politicians are judged by their performance and new people’s representatives are elected. This is the time when citizens make their voices heard. Some practices from abroad are geared towards strengthening representative


democracy by focusing on elections. This offers an interesting overview of practices designed to increase election turnout. Other countries are focusing on more direct forms of democracy, and this gives us an informative picture of the advantages and disadvantages of referenda. The practices are analysed below. The practice number refers in each case to the more extensive discussion of the practice in section II. Analysis of policy practices (Democratic structure policy practices 5-8-9-11-14-19-20-25-29-31-33-38-35-39-43-45) The countries discussed below are trying to increase sustainability by focusing on the democratic or electoral structure.

Different countries have different ways of strengthening their democratic structure. All policy practices focus on increasing the democratic legitimacy of public institutions. This is done by having well-organised elections, among other things. In Canada, legitimacy and impartiality, ensuring that all citizens have the opportunity to participate, and guaranteeing a high election turnout are central. The provision of information is very important in this respect, but efforts are also being made to find ways of publicising the elections more effectively, striking examples of which are the distribution of political crossword puzzles and the ‘Elections Trivia Game’, a quiz one can play at home (policy practice 5). Canada is looking for ways to increase the legitimacy of its parliament and is doing this by aiming to achieve as high an election turnout as possible. Denmark, Norway and Great Britain have been using ‘postal voting’ for a number of years now. In many countries, postal voting is only available for citizens who live abroad, but now voters who are not very mobile or who find it difficult to leave their homes for other reasons, can also cast their votes a number of weeks in advance (policy practices 11 and 31). Postal voting is also purely intended to increase election turnout and thereby achieve a more solid mandate for the elected parliament. In Austria, it is expected that ICT may be able to contribute to the legitimacy of public institutions. Austrians hope that cyberdemocracy (policy practice 38) will increase turnout and result in reduced exclusion of certain groups of citizens. The question of privacy and security, something that also constitutes an obstacle in the Netherlands, still poses a problem, however. It is not known whether these measures are effective in terms of increasing election turnout.


Direct democracy

Switzerland (policy practice 39) uses a combination of indirect and direct democracy. Swiss research shows that the success of the assemblies of all citizens depends on the size of the municipality. The smaller the municipality, the more influence a citizen has, the more he or she identifies with the topics on the agenda and the greater the degree of social control. Lower turnout at elections in small municipalities is offset by other forms of participation. Citizens probably have more contact with one another, something that creates social cohesion. Other research also shows that social cohesion and active citizenship strengthen one another.95 Decisions taken at the local level in Switzerland are therefore generally regarded as having a high degree of legitimacy. Citizens have a relatively large amount of influence, which encourages involvement and confidence. The municipalities in Switzerland are relatively small, have a large amount of autonomy and the municipal borders have remained unchanged for a long time, which means that citizens have been on the same wavelength for generation after generation and interests are clearly demarcated. The combination of autonomy and the citizen’s high degree of decision-making power ensure that the decisions are usually accepted. People in Switzerland are highly satisfied with the democratic structure at local level, according to the researchers from the university that carried out the study.96 See policy practice 39 for a more extensive discussion of the results. According to the theory, this is a way to strengthen the basis of democracy. Such a structure, where local autonomy in combination with a deeply rooted citizens’ culture ensure a lively democracy, does a great deal for sustainability. In Switzerland, however, these characteristics of local democracy are a given. It cannot simply be assumed that elements from this coherent package would also have positive consequences elsewhere.
Equal access and responsiveness

Korea is aiming for a society where inclusivity and equal opportunities are important values. There must, particularly in relation to political issues, be fewer obstacles and more women, young people and disabled persons must be given the opportunity to have their say and make a difference (policy practice 43). Korea is still struggling with corruption and fraud at elections, which is regarded as very damaging to a healthy democracy. In both Great Britain and South Korea, a debate is underway about the financing of political parties, with the central question being whether it is right for large sums of money to come from the business community, which may give this sector a disproportionate degree of influence. This can hamper equal access (people without any money should also be able to express their opinions via a political

party). These are interesting practices because questions about this topic are currently being raised in the Netherlands as well. See policy practices 35 and 45. Finland is struggling with the question of how improved representation in the broad sense (not just in terms of politics, but also of the administration) can resolve the current problems, such as a lack of confidence. According to the Finns, this can be achieved if the government shows itself to be more open and as having a large amount of relevant knowledge. It is seen as extremely important that citizens trust the information provided to them by their government, otherwise the government’s task will be unnecessarily hampered. See for example the ‘Hear The Citizens project’ under policy practice 25. Germany is also trying to move towards a more responsive government, see policy practice 14. By aiming for equal participation, the countries discussed expect to achieve greater acceptance and less smouldering dissatisfaction among specific groups. The opinion shared by the countries considered is that minority groups must also have a platform to speak out, since only then will a country have an ‘inclusive society’ (without the structural exclusion of certain groups) and a legitimate state. The concept of inclusivity is identified as an aim for a number of countries. According to some, this aim can be achieved in terms of the democratic structure by focusing on equal opportunities.
Institutional commitment

The US offers another initiative to increase the sustainability of public institutions, with universities and schools working together to strengthen ‘institutional commitment’ among pupils and students (policy practices 8 and 9). The idea behind this attempt to encourage political commitment among young people is, among other things, that this will give public institutions an ongoing rationale in the future, as a result of which sustainability will - it is assumed - increase. Conclusions with regard to democratic structure Many of the countries studied are trying to interest more citizens in elections. Declining turnout is a fact in many wealthy, established democracies. Although this is often a steady decline, there is nevertheless concern about the future of political institutions. One example is reviewing policy relating to political parties. The assumption that political parties are losing their significance in the current information society appears to be emphasised by a number of countries. In addition, policy often focuses on the accessibility of elections. Information and communication technology offers new possibilities, but countries are wary of the detrimental side effects of these. Postal voting is used to fulfil citizens’ desire to be


able to vote anywhere, anytime. Countries are also trying to achieve accessibility in other ways, namely by providing citizens, and particularly the more vulnerable citizens, with better information about elections and casting their vote. In any case, increasing the turnout at elections is based on strengthening the democratic structure. By increasing equal access to politics and greater responsiveness on the part of the government, some countries hope to achieve a more inclusive society. It may be that the concepts have a causal relationship. However, it is unfortunately not possible to make hard and fast pronouncements here on the basis of the material studied. It can however be said that it is likely that participation is good for democracy and that the exclusion of certain groups is not. In summary, it can be said, as regards the practices focusing on strengthening the democratic structure, that it is likely that positive results will be achieved in the various countries, but that no spectacular increases in election turnout are to be expected.


Political Representation

The Netherlands is a representative democracy. Many countries are thinking about sustainable ways of strengthening the representative function of the bodies that represent the people. This is also a topic in academic literature. The literature uses the term ‘mimetic representation’ for the form of representation where the elected representatives act as a conduit. The term ‘aesthetic representation’ is used in the literature for the other concept of representation.97 The first variant or concept of representation leads to efforts to achieve an exact reflection of the population. Someone who prefers mimetic representation would rather have a parliament in which all population groups are represented. Such a person would also be an elected representative who would rather directly communicate the interests of the citizen in politics, without filtering these through his own opinion as well. - In the case of aesthetic representation, the elected representative allows more of his own ideas to come to the fore. He uses what he himself thinks to remodel the interests of the population into an opinion in his own way. In practice, such an elected representative will give more weight to his own convictions, ideology or principles in the decision. A mimetic elected representative, in contrast, will also first think what the population or the voter would want or think at that point. - The policy practices from abroad that focus on strengthening the representative function of elected representatives are analysed in the light of the above concepts.


Analysis of policy practices (policy practices 4-16-21-23-24-28-30-42-44-46-54)
Elected representatives

The study highlighted various ways of achieving greater responsiveness on the part of government and politicians. The method mentioned most often is training elected representatives. The idea is that the attitude of the elected representative is extremely important for more public accountability, openness and participation. If elected representatives do not take their task seriously, the government becomes to a certain extent less reflective and responsive. They translate the wishes of the citizen and should expose abuses. The problem is however that many representatives easily turn inwards, that is, they turn their backs on the people. Canada set up a development programme to make members of parliament aware of their ‘higher purpose’, which is an example of endeavouring to achieve better aesthetic representation. Inter-parliamentary networks are also an example of an instrument by means of which an overall understanding of the public interest can be developed (policy practice 4). Elected representatives in various countries can learn from one another. This applies not only to content-related knowledge but also to views and skills in respect of representation itself. An important role has also been set aside for political parties in terms of the accessibility of politics, for example in South Korea (see also policy practices 21-2223-28-30-32-35-42 from other clusters). In the policy practices, the political parties emerge as the guardians of democracy in the broadest sense of the word. For example, they are seen as responsible for the accessibility of politics and for keeping the provision of information to citizens up to standard. In short, political parties have been given an important role to play and the policy practices that focus on political parties recur in different clusters. In Finland, another development programme focuses on municipal councillors (policy practice 28). They must tackle the question of what their democratic task is. Their action patterns are being scrutinised, with the relationship between voter and elected representative taking centre stage. The aim is to achieve a local democracy with a stronger external focus. The belief in Finland is that local representatives have a pioneering role. They must act as guardians of the public interest, instead of automatically adopting the wishes of voters. A good elected representative must do what is best, based on due consideration, even where the majority are against this.
The citizen as represented and as potential representative

It is not only the intermediary, on the part of the government, who will have to find


a new way of making more contact with citizens, citizens must also do their bit to improve representation. Many countries have identified the need for citizens to get involved in politics to give the politicians input for their policies. But then citizens must know how to get to their representative. The following initiatives are aimed not only at getting the citizen to play a cooperative role in the representation process, but also at guaranteeing a growth in the number of new politicians. There are various initiatives where children’s opinions are heard in the interests of achieving better representation, for example in Germany (policy practice 16). The topics are ones on which children are the experts, with the (democratic) idea that they (usually) know best what is good for them. Learning as part of political education is one of the considerations here as well, as is the fact that although politicians may not be elected by children, they do represent their interests (‘the entire population’…). In addition to the representation of the population at the national level, there are also countries which encourage citizens to enforce good representation at the local level. After all, the local administration is, according to some, the first point of contact for citizens. To encourage citizens to participate and stand as candidates in local politics, various countries are setting up policy programmes which ensure that obstacles that discourage people from standing as candidates are removed (see policy practices 23, 24, 28 and 54). In some countries, there is a need for more insight into the question of why various groups in society continue to be underrepresented in the various political and social organisations. The groups concerned are young people, people from a foreign background, people with a low income, elderly people, citizens born in another country, and people with low levels of education. British research98 shows that there is a clear difference between men and women, but that this also depends on the nature of the participatory activity. Turnout at elections is approximately the same for men and women, for example. Women are more likely to express their political opinions by signing a petition or boycotting products. Women are less active in the various aspects of political parties (standing as candidates, donating money and supporting a campaign). Voluntary organisations also have more men than women. See policy practices 21 (Sweden), 30 (Great Britain) and 44 (South Korea) for initiatives in this regard. The countries are aiming for equal numbers of women and men in their representative bodies. These countries are based on mimetic representation. The question is whether it is a problem if the council or parliament is not an exact reflection of society. A country based on aesthetic representation would not see any problem with this. There is however a difference of opinion about this. It can however be said that it is likely that a healthy democracy does not need its parliament to be an


exact reflection of society, but it is nevertheless not beneficial if some groups in society are clearly underrepresented in politics. Conclusions with regard to political representation What is striking is that the so-called ‘gap between voters and elected representatives’ is clearly identified as the basis for the solutions which the various countries provide to promote democracy. In some countries, achieving improved mimetic representation is central (politics reflects society as closely as possible), in other countries, achieving improved aesthetic representation is central (encouraging and training elected representatives to be aware of their ‘higher purpose’). Access to politics for all groups in society is seen as the most important aspect for strengthening aesthetic representation. On the one hand, the bodies representing the people must consist of as broad an amalgamation of different people as possible, and on the other, contact between voters and elected representatives must be good and minority groups must also be heard. The main point made in respect of strengthening aesthetic representation is the importance of training representatives to stay close enough to the people (looking outwards) to be able to see what is going on, on the one hand, and on the other, to keep enough of a distance to be able to see the whole of society and make an assessment which is in the ‘public interest’. Which practice could offer prospects for the Netherlands? One of the two approaches can be chosen. For example, strengthening mimetic representation. In that case, the aim is to reflect the various population groups in parliament and in the (municipal) councils as accurately as possible. The elected representatives can also be encouraged to draw in society as much as possible, to speak to citizens and be directly inspired by them. A number of practices from section II could serve as examples for this. If improved aesthetic representation is preferred, then training programmes, workshops and networks which spur the elected representatives on to think about the ‘public interest’ and about how they can identify this, would be the route to follow. Different interests are weighed up in a manner that prevents too great a distance arising between voters and elected representatives, yet which offers enough scope for the representative to be able to make an assessment based on 0his own (political) principles, in other words based on a pre-structured view of the problems and solutions. The third possibility consists of taking both forms of representation and the policy practices that accompany them to heart. Although the two forms are to some extent mutually exclusive, they could be used to supplement one another. Aiming for a


better reflection of society in parliament may best go together with training courses which make representatives aware that it is their task to find ways of representing the public interest.


Civil Society
Introduction From this point onwards, we will leave the level of public institutions (democratic structure and representation) and deal with society. Both the various countries and the academic literature point out that a democracy cannot function well without a strong civil society. Civil society consists of numerous organisations and collaborative ventures between organisations that stand between the state and the individual and that fight for the interests of certain groups in society. These are almost always non-profit institutions. Civil society is seen as the cement that holds democracy together. According to some,99 interest groups contribute to a responsive administration, which means that citizens get the feeling that their views are being heard earlier than would be the case in a democracy with structures geared less towards consensus and which has weaker links with civil society. Although citizens in the Netherlands have few possibilities to have a direct say (for example, via a referendum), they do therefore have opportunities to find a platform where they can express their opinion. It is important from this point of view to give civil society the room to carry out its function in democracy. The various countries are therefore attempting to improve the links between politics and civil society and to make it stronger. With a view to making democracy (which derives its power from its base, society) more robust and sustainable, this is, in itself, a justified aim. Within the framework of representation that is, according to some, increasingly losing its effect as far as elected representatives are concerned (the ‘displacement of politics’), close collaboration with civil society may be an attractive alternative. Analysis of policy practices (policy practices 6-13-14-15-22-23-27-40-41-45-4749-51-55-56-58)
Young people in civil society

A number of countries, including Canada and Finland (policy practices 6 and 27), have developed education programmes which focus on voluntary work, collaboration and creating a sustainable community. In some cases, young people learn how to deal with other cultures and religions and are expected to develop tolerance and respect as a result. By making young people aware of civil society


and the benefits this offers, it is hoped that this will continue to exist and that society in general will achieve a higher level of sustainability and stability. This can in turn benefit the legitimacy of democracy. Civil society often also has an educational function itself. By participating in a voluntary organisation, for example, a citizen can build social ties and acquire skills which may also be of great importance in a democracy.
Transparency and access

Some countries are convinced that if civil society organisations are to be able to supplement politics, there must be proper structures for the provision of information by the government to society. Germany has done this (policy practices 13 and 14) by obliging ministries to send draft bills to social organisations which have an interest in the relevant bill, to give them a chance to participate at an early stage. Other organisations and the public can easily view the information, since it is published on the internet. This transparency and collaboration between the government and society is regarded as necessary to ensure that all institutions function in the best possible way in a healthy democracy. Another way of encouraging civil society and social involvement is to set up and monitor networks in society (policy practices 15, 27, 49 and 51). The right parties from the public, private and social sectors then combine their knowledge and resources, as a result of which a powerful contribution can be made to all kinds of problems. The countries in question expect these collaborative projects to play a supporting role in democracy. In Belgium, there is a strong need for a government whose task is to provide the basic conditions required for a healthy, sustainable democracy. This is a democracy characterised by social involvement, social activity and social cohesion, enterprising citizens and voluntary co-optation. The government must not however stand in the way of a flourishing network of associations by interfering too much from above. To prevent this and to increase access to voluntary organisations and their activities, the law in Belgium relating to voluntary work has been adapted to lighten the administrative and tax burden for voluntary workers (see policy practices 55 and 58). It is expected that more voluntary workers will be able to continue their work as a result of this, and that more voluntary workers will be recruited. Spain (policy practice 47), Italy (policy practice 40) and Germany (policy practice 15) are also focusing part of their policies on voluntary work.
Meetings in the public domain

Most of the countries studied share the opinion that adequate social activity is required for a healthy public life. Citizens must participate in voluntary organi-


sations and must be encouraged to do so. An example of how this aim has been dealt with in Sweden can be found in policy practices 22 and 23. In Italy, the government has encouraged private individuals to donate money to good causes, see policy practice 41. It is expected that it will only be possible to keep democracy healthy by ensuring that there are adequate ties within society, in terms of which consideration must also be given to the future. People must be given opportunities to meet, to get to know one another and exchange experiences. The idea is that this will strengthen social cohesion, which may in turn have a positive effect on the political and social activity in a community.99 For a discussion of policy relating to public meeting places, see policy practice 22. For the promotion of a cohesive society, see also policy practices 45, 49 and 51. The importance of new organisations is also recognised in Sweden and is based on the assumption that the way people form organisations in the current society is different to what it was twenty years ago. The composition of organisations has changed, together with the method of working: this is much more network-oriented and polycentric. Digital organisations are also appearing more often and may play an important role in the public domain, despite the absence of any physical component. For an example of how a government can deal with this, see policy practices 22 and 49. Conclusions with regard to civil society A number of points have come to the fore in the above discussion of current thinking about the role of civil society. On the one hand, civil society is supported by the government so that it can carry out its democratic task well. On the other hand, the government provides incentives in society itself, with the intention of strengthening the role of civil society ‘from the bottom up’. The first government activity relates to the policy practices in terms of which civil society is provided with information, so that it can carry out the task of intermediary between the government and citizens as well as possible. This relates primarily to the provision of information and collaboration with social organisations. The second, more subtle government activity relates to a whole series of government programmes in terms of which citizens are encouraged to participate in voluntary organisations and networks in society are organised and encouraged. What is in any event clear, is that various countries attach great importance to civil society. These are not only countries such as Belgium, Germany and Sweden, which, as consensus democracies, are known to ascribe an important role to civil society, but also to countries such as Great Britain (and the United States), which


are structured much more along the lines of the ‘Westminster model’ and have, from time immemorial, lacked any natural inclination to consult frequently with civil society.101


Introduction Some find that current society needs more critical and, at the same time, more socially responsible citizens. There is, in other words, a greater need for citizenship. Because there are differing views of citizenship (the requirements for democratic citizenship are different to those for nationality), a number of characteristics will be discussed here which are frequently identified when democratic citizenship is defined. Citizenship is characterised by autonomy, with the important addition of an ‘explicit social component’.102 A citizen is independent and socially involved. He or she does not prevent others from freely exercising their rights. A citizen also cares for the public domain in the broadest sense of the word. This may mean that citizens exercise social control, go to vote, do voluntary work or even make a contribution to (local) politics. It is said that citizenship functions as a shock absorber for society. When citizens are exposed to harmful external influences (such as terrorism), there are always the ties between all kinds of groups in a society that can prevent a real crisis. Citizens’ attitude can therefore also have a stabilising effect on society. Citizenship means that people learn to form their own opinions about certain topics (‘engaging with values’) and dare to actively disseminate these. Without citizenship, democracy is an empty shell, because it is the citizen who decides what will happen. For this reason, well-informed, involved, competent citizens are needed. Journalists have a very important role to play in democracy, one that is different to that attributed to many other professions whose members must set an example (policemen, teachers). Some countries regard the reliability of the information that comes from journalists as extremely important if a democracy is to be robust. This applies not only to citizens, to enable them to assess political issues based on the correct facts, but also to politicians, to enable them to weigh up the relevant interests. It is clear that journalists, and the media in general, play a role in thinking about sustainable democracy in various countries. Various countries have formulated policy with the aim of promoting citizenship. Citizenship education and political education are regarded as extremely important in the countries studied. The recommendation from the Dutch Education Council


(2003) indicated that ‘promoting citizenship must be a statutory task for all schools’.103 According to the Council, schools must encourage pupils to develop into socially involved citizens. The problems in respect of decreasing social cohesion and changing attitudes on the part of citizens (particularly as a result of individualisation) mean that a lot of attention is being paid to education. This applies to other countries as well, where the implementation of citizenship policies is in some cases more advanced. Analysis of policy practices (policy practices 1-2-7-10-12-18-26-33-34-37-4850-52-53-57) According to some, the attitude of Dutch citizens has changed over recent decades. Citizens are more responsible, and possibly more tolerant of certain groups (homosexuals), but less tolerant of other groups (‘foreigners’). It has also been said that citizens are more ‘self-involved’. They criticise the government, but at the same time refuse to commit themselves at elections and to take advantage of other opportunities to participate. A striking number of countries are looking for ways to define and encourage citizenship, one of the many capacities that an individual has in society. In section II, citizenship (education) was a topic that was repeatedly highlighted as a solution to the current problems in the relationship between the government and citizens. The approaches to this did however differ per country. Some countries focused on citizenship education, other countries on political education. The fact that these are two different matters will be explained in greater detail below using the examples from the various countries.
Citizenship education

Citizenship education takes place at school. In some countries, space has been cleared in the curriculum for primary and second education. The teaching programmes differ widely per country and per target group. Young pupils (from the age of 7 onwards) are exposed to democracy and politics in a playful manner. Games (‘Democracity’, see policy practice 57) and group discussions are the methods used. For pupils aged from around 9 years and up, some countries offer a teaching package that is also intended to make a contribution to citizenship, in terms of which history and topography are taught in the light of politics (policy practices 1 and 2). In secondary schools, the emphasis is placed on forms of government, politics, social studies, voluntary work, the rights of the citizen, ethics and social justice (policy practices 1, 2 and 7). There are also policy programmes that encourage citizenship without making a


distinction on the basis of age. All kinds of courses are organised – mainly by social organisations – which make citizens aware of their rights and obligations in a democracy and which inform them about voting procedures, political involvement and participation. For example, there is an initiative (policy practice 26) that teaches citizens to look critically at reporting in the media.
Political education

Political education has a strong didactic character, but goes further than the classroom alone. In some countries, this is seen as supplementing citizenship education, whereas in other countries, there is a strong conviction that citizenship cannot be learned from classes or the pure transfer of knowledge. Citizenship, politics and democracy must be experienced and citizens need skills (in addition to knowledge) to enable them to express their citizenship. The programmes and projects that deal with enabling young people (in particular) to put what they have learned into practice vary enormously from country to country. In some countries, a trip to a political organisation is one of the standard elements of the educational package (for ideas, see policy practices 33, 34, 37 and 50). Youth parliaments in Denmark, Norway and Portugal (policy practices 12 and 48) ensure that potential future representatives get an early lesson in democracy. A youth parliament can open doors to the political arena for young people. Furthermore, the learning experience gives participants a better understanding of the possibilities encountered by a politician. All this creates a smoother relationship between voters and elected representatives as well as greater understanding between the two parties. A number of countries refer to the importance of youth and school councils in the co-determination of each school. Great Britain has gone one step further with a pilot project where pupils’ representatives also sit on the board of governors (policy practice 34). In this way, political education becomes an intensive experience, especially when it goes together with elections by fellow pupils. All young people therefore learn ‘politics in miniature’, which can be a valuable experience for the rest of their lives as democratic citizens. See policy practice 52 for additional ideas about political education.
Public Journalism

A specific journalism movement has now developed in a number of countries (including the US and Belgium), which, according to its supporters, ensures that public opinion will be influenced by the media in a more democratically responsible manner than is now the case.


Public Journalism (policy practices 10, 18 and 53) is a journalism movement that has now been incorporated into professional training for journalists in the US. Since journalists inform citizens about the course of events in politics and elicit public responsibility and accountability from public institutions, the media is also called the watchdog of democracy. In this way, citizens can monitor the government and the democratic circle is complete. In addition to its watchdog function, the media is important for guiding public opinion. Unfortunately, the media, which acts as an intermediary between politics and citizens in a democracy, has also suffered from a loss of legitimacy and confidence in the eyes of the latter.104 Within the Public Journalism movement, this problem has been identified and attempts are being made to reinstate the value of journalism. One concrete recommendation that has been made to journalism colleges, for example, is that journalists could also report positive events in politics, instead of always highlighting the dark side of society and the government. Conclusions with regard to citizenship In many countries, extra homework is required not only of the public institutions (clusters 1 and 2) and the social institutions (cluster 3), but also of the citizen. After all, the latter plays a crucial role in democracy. At the same time, academics and policymakers as well as the media are saying that citizens are ‘apathetic’, uninterested, not very involved and usually rather negative about the government’s performance. This is a rather negative analysis of the problem that should perhaps be put into perspective, but it is nonetheless likely that there is something wrong with the attitude of citizens. It is not possible to say whether this is because politicians are not responsive, because the media guides public opinion or because citizens would rather do other things than get involved in politics. The various countries in the study believe that they have identified a problem in this area and have also come up with solutions. These usually relate to citizenship education and political education. It has been explained above that the two ways of educating citizens to become democratic citizens have very different implications. Citizenship education takes place primarily in the classroom, whereas political education goes further and also means that the knowledge and skills are used in practice. One point of agreement between the two ways of promoting citizenship is that this is, in a large number of practices, seen as a ‘long-term affair’. The overwhelming majority of the practices are also geared towards children and young adults. The policy programmes have clearly been created based on the assumption that citizenship education must be structured according to the principle of ‘lifelong


learning’. If the authors of the policy programmes are right, then this must be started early on in life. It is also clear from the summary of the practices that for a consistent policy programme to promote citizenship, the findings in relation to citizenship education can best be combined with the findings about political education. Transferring knowledge (‘what is democracy?’) and practising skills (for example, debating with fellow pupils or politicians) form a two-step plan that may possibly be more successful than introducing only one of the two forms of training in citizenship and politics.


IV Co n c l u s i o n s

This study started out with a number of assumptions about ‘democracy’. These came from the theoretical literature,105 but were confirmed by informal channels. There was an impression that – in addition to the Netherlands – other established democracies were also suffering from declining (political) participation, decreasing involvement in social problems and politics on the part of citizens, and reduced confidence in the public administration. The Democracy Programme needed to take stock of the practices used to promote democracy in other wealthy countries. Based on the idea that these countries were also suffering from the above problems, it was expected that these practices could provide inspiration for the creation of a coherent programme to promote democracy. The study was launched with the questions ‘what is needed to make a democracy robust and sustainable?’ and ‘what solutions found by other countries may also prove to be solutions for the Netherlands?’. In principle, all the policy practices could serve as sources of inspiration to deal with the problems in the Netherlands. Closer analysis could show that the Netherlands has no need for a specific policy practice. It is however not possible to determine the chances of success of a foreign initiative implemented in the Netherlands. Such a pronouncement would require the investigation of the environmental factors of all the countries, including the Netherlands. The following are a number of general conclusions that can be drawn, bearing in mind the question ‘what is needed to make a democracy robust and sustainable?’. The first observation can be taken directly from policy officials in Sweden: “Democracy Needs Time”. Many policy practices and social initiatives have longterm objectives. This says something about the nature of the problems and also about the requirements that the solutions will have to meet. Short-term solutions can at best give a positive impetus to the turnout at elections, for example, but the effect of such solutions will soon die out. It is important to have an idea of the causes of the problems and their symptoms. Precisely because democracy is something that (also) needs to be promoted from ‘the bottom up’, a short-lived policy programme can offer no solution. It is also striking that many countries provide incentives at various points in society with the aim of promoting democracy. Countries which have a well-advanced policy in relation to promoting democracy (for example, Sweden and Australia) are working on the turnout at elections as well as on gearing policy towards society, on equal and better representation and on developing even broader programmes to promote


citizenship. The overview of the various practices leads to the idea that there is something to be gained in all four domains and that this is also necessary in order to promote something as multiform, complex and social as a democracy. Furthermore, the fact that the practices can be divided into four categories is already a conclusion in itself. All the practices focus on at least one of the four elements of democracy. In many cases, the practice is geared towards a combination of different elements. In some cases, a practice has the aim of both promoting civil society and increasing participation and government responsiveness. The four domains are therefore closely interwoven, and stimulating one domain may affect the others, which means that the various practices can supplement one another. Finally, it can be stated, based on this study, that ‘confidence’ is something that has been found to be very important in many of the countries. In the eyes of the contact persons and sources in the affluent, established democracies, confidence in public institutions is on the wane. The idea is that this confidence can to some extent be rebuilt by means of the policy practices discussed above. This result is not surprising, because confidence was an important aspect of the question posed to all the contact persons. What is surprising, however, is that the concept of confidence often explicitly appears in the descriptions of the policy programmes. Confidence is therefore a topic with which many countries are struggling. This confirms the hypothesis which led to this study (that in all wealthy and/or established democracies one experiences the same problem, namely declining confidence). This is an important result because it says something about the aims and the envisaged results of the policy practices. These aims and envisaged results are useful to the Netherlands (and the other countries of this investigation) because they focus on the (partial) resolution of a problem that is also regarded as urgent in Dutch political life as well.



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New South Wales Discovering Democracy Professional Development Committee: ‘A system of national citizenship indicators’, 1991 Whereas the People… Civics and citizenship education, 1994 Dickson 1998, The development of civics – A NSW perspective, Teaching History, 58-61 (quoted in Discovering democracy; Discussion paper 4) Gutman, Amy 1987, Democratic Education, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press (Quoted in Discovering Democracy: discussion paper 5) The Democracy Canada Institute: A Blueprint – IRPP working paper number 2005-02c, May 2005 / Center for Civic Education USA American Association of State Colleges and Universities: OECD International Futures Programme Seminar on Power and Democracy in Denmark and Norway, 25th October 2004, OECD Headquarters, Paris (Folketing) ‘Parliamentary Elections and Election Administration in Denmark’ (Folketing) Ministry of the Interior in Germany, section O 5 Ministry of the Interior in Germany Ministry of the Interior in Germany Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish


Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 32 32 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 23 33 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 23 34 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 34 ff 35 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 50 ff 36 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 50 ff 37 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 50 ff 38 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 77 ff 39 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 79 ff 40 Government communication 2003/04:110 Policies for Democracy, submitted to the Swedish Riksdag Stockholm, 11 March 2004; page 81 ff 41 Oikeusministeriö (Ministry of Justice): w w 42 Ministry of Justice – Finland: Government Policy Programmes; Citizen Participation: 43 Ministry of Finance – Finland: Government Policy Programmes; Citizen Participation: 44 Ministry of Finance – Finland: Government Policy Programmes; Citizen Participation: 45 Source: Katju Holkeri Ministry of Finance, Finland 46 Ministry of Justice – Finland: Government Policy Programmes; Citizen Participation: 47 Ministry of Justice – Finland: Government Policy Programmes; Citizen Participation: 48 Ministry of Justice – Finland: Government Policy Programmes; Citizen Participation: 49 Electoral Commission – Great Britain; Corporate Plan 2004-2005 to 2008-2009 50 Source: Electoral Commission UK via Dutch Embassy in London 51 Source: Electoral Commission UK via Dutch Embassy in London 52


53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87

Source: Electoral Commission UK via Dutch Embassy in London Dutch Embassy in London Institute for Citizenship: w w Delivering Justice, Rights and Democracy DCA strategy 2004-2009/Business Priority Areas: Peter Filzmaier – Demokratiezentrum Wien – w w - Politische Bildung und Demokratie Peter Filzmaier – Demokratiezentrum Wien – w w Bundeskanzleramt Osterreich (w w Peter Filzmayer - Demokratiezentrum Wien – w w Ladner, A. Size and Democracy on local level: The Case of Switzerland, University of Bern Size and Direct Democracy on Local Level: The Case of Switzerland Dahl & Tufte (1973) Size and Democracy, Stanford: Stanford University Press Roberto Marraccini – Lega Nord Source: Cittadinanzattiva : civicus civil society index, report on Italy, Giovanni Moro and Ilara Vannini Source: Dutch Embassy in Madrid Hans Kruishoop – Dutch Embassy in Portugal Cabinet Office- Japan: h t t p : / / w w


88 Cabinet Office – Japan: h t t p : / / w w 90 91 Electoral Commission, Covering Elections – A Guide for Journalists, Colin James 92 93 94 95 Putnam, R. D. (1993) Making Democracy Work. Civic traditions in modern Italy, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 96 Ladner, A. Size and Democracy on local level: The Case of Switzerland, University of Bern 97 Ankersmit, Frank: Aesthetic Politics, Stanford: Stanford university Press, 1996 98 99 Lijphart, A. (1999) Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, New Haven, Yale University Press 100 Putnam, R. D. (1993) Making Democracy Work. Civic traditions in modern Italy, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 101 Lijphart, A. (1999) Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, New Haven, Yale University Press 102 Leenders & Veugelers: Waardevormend burgerschap. Een pleidooivoor kritisch-democratisch burgerschap; in: Pedagogiek, 2004, p. 367 103 Leenders & Veugelers: Waardevormend burgerschap. Een pleidooivoor kritisch-democratisch burgerschap; in: Pedagogiek, 2004, p. 367 104 Nye, J. S. and J. P. Zelikow, D., et al., Eds. (1997). Why People Don’t Trust Government. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, Harvard University Press. 105 See: Niklas Luhman, Joseph Nye & Philip Zelikow, Bo Rothstein, Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (Dutch: WRR) & het Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau (Dutch: SCP).




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