G!LT Party in Austria to use sortition

This sortition community may be pleased to hear that a new party employing principles of sortition was recently founded by Austrian Comedian Roland Düringer. The new party is called “Meine Stimme GILT” (translates as: “My Vote Counts”) and is now highly likely to get sufficient popular support to run at Austria’s national parliamentary elections in October.

Roland Düringer has puzzled media and pundits by declaring himself not eligible for election, which of course sounds absurd for party system adherents. In fact, however, he is not a candidate and will not accept a mandate. Also, the party has declared that it has absolutely no political program which adds to journalists’ head scratching but is a logical consequence of a commitment to crowdsourcing all future policy proposals and decisions with full neutrality.

Once sufficient supporting signatures have come in from all Austrian federal states, expected to happen at the end of next week, G!LT will allot 50 parliamentary candidates for its election lists from a group of 1,000 vetted volunteers. These volunteers committed to donate most of their salary (anything above 2017 Euros) to social or democratic causes and to represent the General Will in parliament. This will be determined by “Open Democracy“, a multi-stage process mixing elements of several democratic approaches:

  1. Participative democracy — broad public participation during initial opinion and prediction gathering, open for all citizens
  2. Sortition democracy — stratified random sampling for demarchic committees from volunteers vetted by prediction success
  3. Deliberative democracy — demarchic committees will vote after a multi-phase hearing of innovators, the pro and the con side, and deliberation
  4. Anticipatory democracy — all committee decisions will be backed and tracked by falsifiable impact predictions

(Here are the principles of this process in English.)

The party decided to adopt this model for the upcoming elections, over two other competing ones (Liquid Democracy and Sociocracy), after research by a combination of questionnaire and prediction market forecasts drawing on a representative sample of 1,000 Austrians.

Democratic legitimisation will be effected by vote share in general election. Or not, as a 4% hurdle applies.

If there is sufficient interest, I can keep this community posted on new developments and of course on actual election results.

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21 Responses

  1. Always interested in ways to break the monopolie of the political parties. To my knowledge Demoex in Sweden was the first (2002) who succeeded to do this for several legislations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demoex

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It would be great if you keep us updated

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hjh

    Thanks very much for the interesting information. It does seem too complex a program to organise in time for the October election. But nothing ventured, nothing gained!
    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, keep us informed. This looks like a very interesting and brave experiment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. @All -Glad that this is of interest, so I will provide updates following significant events.

    @Paul – Thanks for mentioning Demoex. It is encouraging that the transmission path via an election is demonstrably viable, albeit with a much lower hurdle than Austria’s 4%. However, I see several unfortunate flaws in the Demoex model of direct democracy.

    Do you know of a systematic post-mortem analysis about the lack of Demoex’s further success and their ultimate demise?

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  6. Update 20 August:
    In a press conference on Friday, transmitted live by ORF, Austria’s national TV, the new GILT party announced 4,500 supporting signatures. 2,600 is the legal requirement. The budget spent so far amounts to 30.000 Euros.

    Here is the TV recording (in German) which explains the demarchic approach of GILT in detail:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwQliau3z9_vdHJMVWd2VEtmS28

    Here are two overview charts:
    System and transmission into parliament: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwQliau3z9_vc2c0RVNYVDJBaXM
    Committee decision process and timing: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwQliau3z9_vM0NFaHNBelAzbTQ

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  7. On Saturday G!LT held the first “Citizen Parliament” in Austria. The exercise was to demo the new method practically to the electorate prior to the elections.
    We judge the pilot run an unconditional success:
    – 92% of participants thought that the method was superior to a referendum (8% neutral).
    – 84% thought that the Citizen Parliament’s decision was the “right” one (4% “somewhat” disagreed).

    Here is a short video (in German) about the long day:

    As G!LT has no campaign funds, versus the political parties’ 7 million Euro budgets, getting elected is a veritable challenge. At this moment – 4 weeks to go – G!LT still needs 1.9% more votes to make the 4% hurdle. The Austrian election forecast, in real-time, currently gives G!LT 2.1%:
    http://www.wahlfieber.at/de_du/aktie/A-2017-NRW-KL-GIL–meine-stimme-gilt-liste-duringer-/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An additional information for Sortitionists to puzzle about. Our prediction market predicted exactly – before the session even started. what the stratified Citizen Parliament would decide, both the top five topics as well as the exact sequence of preference

    https://www.prediki.com/questions/Welches-wird-das-erste-zu-behandelnde-Thema-f%C3%BCr-das-B%C3%BCrgerparlament/

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  9. One month to go until Election Day, October 15th. After an initial analysis of the current situation, I believe that a new sortition party should combine a more traditional “candidate” approach to maximise its election impact in competition with normal parties.

    Outwardly, its “candidates” would need to be politics-proof and experienced activists, even though inwardly they would be obliged to transport the decisions of the citizen’s parliament, as shown in the flow-chart:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwQliau3z9_vd0RyUlBqc1IxS3c/view?usp=sharing

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  10. A key reason was a setback of about 0.8 percent suffered 3 weeks ago from Dirty Campaigning of the traditional parties directed at the “lead candidate” allowed by sortition. Some media outlet was given a hint that the man (a 70 year old who was to represent the “pensioner” stratum) had in his public library an anti-semitic pamphlet originating from Russia in 1903. Media made out as if the guy himself had written it.

    Little did it matter that the man’s library also had a document condemning exactly that pamphlet as vile and anti-semitic and that the guy itself had been a progressive all his 70 year long life, visible in the public internet, having signed public petitions for all kinds of progressive social and environmental matters. G!LT was hit by this completely unawares and unprepared.

    Anyway, it took 3 weeks to recover from this hit, and G!LT is now nudging back up to the 2.4% level seen before the media hit: http://www.wahlfieber.at/de_du/aktie/A-2017-NRW-GM-GIL–meine-stimme-gilt/

    Quite a way to go for the 4% needed to enter parliament and only 4 weeks left …

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  11. HJH: >a 70 year old who was to represent the “pensioner” stratum

    This indicates the confusion involved in the concept of an individual “allotted representative”. Stochation would generate a microcosm of the demos, including the correct ratio of pensioners, antisemites and “progressives”. I appreciate that you’re only trying to kick-start the process but the very notion of “candidates” as “politics-proof and experienced activists” is diametrically opposed to the sortition principle, hence the inevitable media response.

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  12. You misunderstand. The man was alotted.

    As I explained: for the harsh political reality today this has serious disadvantages. Therefore it should have been experienced activists- obviously with no say, only to transmit citizen decisions into parliament.

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  13. HJH: >The man was alotted

    This makes no sense at all from a stochation perspective, as one man does not make a statistical sample. Although he may have been selected by an impartial process this does not make him impartial or contribute to the representativity of his speech acts wrt to the target population. Shenanigans like this can only discredit the sortition movement.

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  14. Keith, it appears I could not explain the system concept properly.

    If you look again at the information I provided above, for our concept the “big” parliament candidates are mere “ambassadors” obliged to deliver the decisions of the many topical citizen parliaments into the established constitutional process by voting accordingly. It is the citizen parliament members are determined by stratified sortition.

    IN other words, all 50 candidates of the sortition party’s candidate list for the “big” parliament were allotted, from a long list of volunteers. I now think this last element is a mistake, too much sortition. It should have been chosen activists with party political experience, for many reasons, one of which I explained above.

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  15. HJH: >allotted, from a long list of volunteers. I now think this last element is a mistake, too much sortition. It should have been chosen activists

    This only serves to confirm my suspicion that sortition is being hijacked for other purposes (viz your lionisation of the candidate “having signed public petitions for all kinds of progressive social and environmental matters”). Stochation is designed to privilege the informed judgment of the silent majority — volunteers and activists are served quite well by our current political arrangements.

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  16. If you insist on not understanding what I am writing, I cannot help. Sorry.

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  17. If you meant something different from “too much sortition” and “it should have been chosen activists”, you should have said so!

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  18. hjh: “quote: “Do you know of a systematic post-mortem analysis about the lack of Demoex’s further success and their ultimate demise? “unquote”
    Per Norback wrote a book about his experiences with DEMOEX.
    https://www.amazon.com/Little-Horse-Athens-Norb%C3%A4ck-ebook/dp/B00A414T9I ( The Little Horse from Athens)
    I only followed the event from a distance. When Per was elected for Demoex (I think it was in the third legislature) it felt wrong to me. Demoex voted in the council the way citizens decided on an internet platform. But Per always had expressed his own personal political views rather strongly. I think that is a way of working that looses its credibility. Furthermore we (most of us) are not used to work with elected representatives with a limited mandate. Like GILT in Austria also mentions, there is no legal base for such a scheme. People can only “suggest” how the elected representative has to vote. All coercion is illegal. We do know that most political parties use coercion indirectly in order to maintain party discipline but this does not mean it is legal.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks for the recommendation, Paul, Per Norbäck’s book is just what I was looking for.

    I agree that the free mandate is an issue as you correctly point out, also in Austria, as historically and legally, the free mandate is prescribed by constitution.

    Fact is however, that the traditional parties have broken the principle increasingly over the past few decades. The initial reason was increasing specialisation and complexity where it is much more difficult to decide on a topic than at the time of the creation of parliament when agriculture and prime industries were giving way to industrialisation. So there are subcommittees which decide and the floor votes accordingly by party.

    Of course this increases the problem of even fewer of The Few ruling over The Many in collective matters. Even worse, this broken principle gives even more power to party leaderships, undermining democracy.

    Arguably, G!LT is bringing the free mandate back, as the (unlimited number of) specialised citizen parliaments will be voting according to a free mandate. The bound mandate only applies in the “outdated” main parliament, just like the traditional parties apply it already

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  20. Per has also a blog https://pernor.wordpress.com/about/ and he is (or was at the time) easy to contact if you want.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. One Week to Go. Sortition Newsflash from Vienna, Austria:

    A huge scandal just erupted around SPÖ, the Social Democratic Party, and its dirty campaigning, led by infamous campaign advisor Tal Silberstein who was recently arrested under allegations of fraud, bribery and money laundering.

    A whistleblower leaked to the press that SPÖ – which publicly condemns “Fake News” and anti-semitism – had a secret war room which produced … guess what … quantities of fake news and antisemitism to be published on several rogue websites, wrongly attributed to other parties. Spy thriller stuff.

    At the peak of the ensuing chaos, our Austrian Sortition Party “Meine Stimme G!LT” today held its final event before election date. We felt obliged to do some dirty campaigning ourselves, but do it properly: really, really, really dirty.

    Here’s a video of the final event (in German). Yours truly author also has a few words to say at the end, to explain how our new demarchy sortition model works. Most importantly, it was big fun!

    Currently, all election forecasts are in turmoil, so there is no reliable prediction of the scandal’s effect on G!LT’s chances.

    Liked by 1 person

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