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Monday, June 18, 2012

Deliberative Democracy, Direct Democracy, and Hungary

In The Budapest Times, Adam Paar writes of deliberative democracy and direct democracy in Hungary:
As we have outlined above, direct democracy serves to ensure citizens’ liberty. That can include the holder of power turning to citizens. However, such government initiatives need to fulfil two minimal requirements: the questions should be directed at those groups that are competent to answer on the given subject, and sufficient information should be available about the likely advantages and disadvantages of the decision made. The current National Consultation meets neither criterion. When putting together the questions, competence of the respondents clearly was not at the front of the drafters’ minds: the questions cover everything from flat-rate taxation, housing support for families with children, and assistance for foreign-currency borrowers through to the purchasing power of pensions. Pensioners are competent to answer one question while foreign-currency borrowers are competent to answer another.