10th EL Congress – Lotteries, democracy and the European political landscape

The Congress took place against the backdrop of the European elections, and as a result, lotteries, chance and democracy were an important topic for discussion.

Brett Henning 

Brett Henning, Co-founder and Director at Sortition Foundation analysed the results of the elections, looking closely at the rise in European populism. In the past months and years, anti-EU populist parties have made an insurgence in Europe – a growing concern for the elections. Although these parties made gains, pro-European parties also did well. The results saw a shift away from the major political parties in the European Parliament, fundamentally changing the status quo at European level.

Interestingly, Henning looks at the current (European) political landscape from a view of sortition in government, whereby random people are put in a position of political power combined with deliberation. Sortition is in fact lotteries – the action of selecting or determining something by the casting or drawing of lots. Henning states that throughout history, lotteries were often used instead of elections, as it was believed they served a democracy better. The role of chance, luck and randomness play an important role in democratic decision-making processes still today.

Henning explained how and where lotteries (or sortition) have been used in politics to engage everyday people, for example in the use of citizen’s assemblies – the process of randomly selecting a handful of people to make decisions in an informed, fair and deliberative way. Deliberation is getting people to confront opinions that are not like their own and not only asking them what they think but also why they think it. Across Europe, sortition in government and citizen’s assemblies are on the rise, and Henning believes that such forums might be used to diffuse the nationalist shift in politics by integrating the language of populism into new forms of democracy at local, national and EU level.

The new European Parliament will no doubt shape the future political landscape. Lotteries should continue to seek to address the upcoming opportunities and challenges of the shifting context we are facing. Chance is part of lotteries and lotteries are part of democracy.

Photos: © Martimax photography

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Français

10e congrès d’EL : Loteries, démocratie et paysage politique européen

Alors que le Congrès EL se déroulait dans le contexte des élections européennes, Brett Henning, co-fondateur et Directeur de la Sortition Foundation, a analysé les résultats en examinant de près la montée du populisme européen. En examinant le paysage politique du point de vue du tirage au sort au sein des gouvernements (des personnes placées au hasard en position de pouvoir politique), Henning estime que de tels forums pourraient être utilisés pour diffuser l’évolution du nationalisme en politique en intégrant le langage du populisme dans de nouvelles formes de démocratie à différents niveaux de gouvernement.

Español

10.º Congreso de EL: las loterías, la democracia y el panorama político en Europa

Como el Congreso de EL tuvo como trasfondo las elecciones europeas, Brett Henning, cofundador y director de la Sortition Foundation (Fundación de la desinsaculación) analizó los resultados, examinando a fondo el aumento del populismo en Europa. Al examinar el panorama político desde una perspectiva de la desinsaculación en el gobierno (poner al azar a personas en puestos de poder político), Henning cree que tales foros podrían utilizarse para difundir el cambio nacionalista en la política integrando el lenguaje del populismo en nuevas formas de democracia en distintos niveles de gobierno.

Deutsch

10 EL-Kongress: Lotterien, Demokratie und die politische Landschaft Europas

Da der EL-Kongress vor dem Hintergrund der Europawahlen stattfand, nahm Brett Henning, Mitbegründer und Direktor der Sortition Foundation dies zum Anlass, die Ergebnisse zu analysieren, indem er den Vormarsch des Populismus in Europa näher beleuchtete. Henning schlägt für die politische Landschaft eine Art Losverfahren (Sortition) in der Regierung vor (zufällig ausgewählte Personen, die in eine Position mit politischer Macht erhoben werden). Er glaubt, dass solche Plattformen genutzt werden könnten, um den nationalistischen Ruck in der Politik zu zerstreuen, indem man die Sprache des Populismus in neue Formen der Demokratie auf verschiedenen Regierungsebenen integriert.

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