El partido mejicano Morena seleccionará candidatos para el Congreso y los ayuntamientos por sorteo

Morena — Movimiento Regeneración Nacional— es un nuevo partido mejicano de izquierdas fundado por Andrés Manuel López Obrador que en 2006 y 2012 concurrió sin éxito como candidato a la presidencia de México representando al PRD, uno de los dos partidos más importantes del país.

En lo que parece ser el uso más significativo del sorteo en los más de doscientos años de Gobierno representativo, Martí Batres, presidente del partido, anunció en diciembre que Morena seleccionará por sorteo a parte de sus candidatos —los de representación proporcional (RP)— al Congreso y al Senado.

Martí Batres señaló que “Mientras los partidos tradicionales reservan las candidaturas plurinominales (RP) para asegurar que sus principales dirigentes accedan a cargos de elección, en Morena estos espacios se sortearán entre la militancia”, mencionó Batres,  según un comunicado de prensa.

De ese modo, explicó, “se garantiza que hasta el más humilde compañero de base” tenga posibilidades de acceder a una diputación.

Continue reading

Batres: Morena will select congressional candidates by sortition

Morena – Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, National Regeneration Movement – is a new left-leaning political party in Mexico. Morena was founded by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), who was a presidential candidate for the PRD, one of the two major parties in Mexico, in 2006 and 2012 – losing both bids.

In what seems to be the most significant application of sortition of the modern age, Martí Batres, the party president, announced in December that Morena will select some of its candidates for the upcoming congressional elections by sortition:

The National Regeneration Movement (Morena) will select its candidates for proportional representation congressional seats by lottery, party president, Marti Batres, said Friday.

“While the traditional parties use the PR candidacies to secure elected positions for their main leaders, Morena will allot these candidacies among the members,” said Batres, according to a press release.

This, he explained, “ensures that even the humblest party supporter” can become a congressional delegate.

Continue reading

“Down with Elections!” A Pure Sortition Proposal, Part 1

This is my latest thinking on the subject, and rather long-winded, I’m afraid, so I’m posting it in six parts.

Some of it is reheated leftovers, my apologies, but my mind works slowly, I have to save it labour if I can. For the same reason, the title has been pressed into service again.

It’s written for the general public, not the erudite intellectuals of this forum, but I’d like to know if there are any errors of fact, in fact any suggestions would be welcome.


Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6




How could anyone except a would-be dictator be so stupid, so irresponsible, or so perverse as to wish to see the end of elections?

In the developed and supposedly democratic world, we are accustomed to think that freedom and democracy, if not quite synonymous, go hand in hand; that one is not possible without the other. We assume, usually without giving the matter much thought, that elections are necessary for democracy and that they guarantee freedom.

It is easy enough to see why this assumption is so common.
Continue reading

The January Parliament

The Week:

The January Parliament: marking 750 years of British democracy

On 20 January 1265, knights, burgesses and aldermen met in London for the first real parliament in British history. Of course, the representatives were ‘elected’ in a far less democratic way than they are now, but the meeting is still seen by academics as the birth of British parliaments.

The January Parliament was summoned by French-born noble Simon de Montfort.

Montfort ordered each county of England to send two knights, says the Telegraph. Towns were asked to send two burgesses and two aldermen. The delegates were ‘elected’ locally – in some cases chosen by lot.

Ahmed Teleb on Citizens’ Initiative Reviews

A new post by Ahmed Teleb:

Citizens’ Initiative Reviews: Democracy via Vicarious Deliberation?

Although there has been much discussion in deliberative democracy circles on both the potential and possible drawbacks of “intensive” citizen deliberation–especially on Equality by Lot–there has been less awareness and discussion of deliberative forums in practice. Below is a video interview (first 16 minutes only) of two panelists from last fall’s Citizens’ Initiative Review pilot in Colorado. Further below, you will find links to two peer-reviewed articles evaluating the 2010 CIR in Oregon. Oregon is, to my knowledge, the unique contemporary example of a permanent incorporation of citizen deliberation into its political system. The link at the end of the post is to Oregon’s CIR Commission and to the Oregon Statutes that govern it.

Robbins: Democracy: What Would It Be Like?

Arthur D. Robbins writes in the Sri Lanka Guardian:

What would it be like if we really lived in a democracy? These days just about everybody seems to be enjoying the benefits democratic government, that is if you believe government propaganda and you are one of the credulous many who are eager for a sense of well being at any price. But what is usually called democracy is in fact an oligarchy of elected representatives responsible to the business interests who bankrolled their campaign. If people were actually given the opportunity to choose democracy, they might do so, provided they understood what the word actually means. Our one uncontested example is ancient Athens.

Note the difference between “equal speech,” or “political speech,” the right to debate and legislate, and what today we call “free speech,” the prohibition against being denied the right to speak. We could be speaking on a street corner or marching in a protest. “Free speech” says we have the right to do that. It says the right cannot be taken away. “Free speech” has no particular context. We are granted the right to say what we want, provided, it turns out, we do not threaten the governing powers. “Free speech” is a civil right. It is not a political right. It does not give us the right to set national policy. “Equal speech” in ancient Athens did.
Continue reading

Chwalisz: Are we electoral fundamentalists?

Claudia Chwalisz writes in 3am magazine:

Representative democracy today seems to be at an impasse. Low voter turnout, falling party membership, plummeting trust in politicians, the fierce rise of populist parties. These trends, together with political fragmentation, disengagement among young generations, and backlash against the political elite who have failed to govern responsibly, highlight democracy’s dilemma. Though much has been written about this democratic crisis, less has been proposed in terms of solutions. Belgian historian David Van Reybrouck’s recent book, Contre les élections [Against Elections], attempts to fill this gap of ideas. Although it has not yet been translated into English, as is obvious from what I discuss below, his analyses are critically important in the current climate.

Chwalisz’s long article mostly revolves around Van Reybrouk’s book, but also mentions Gilens and Page. She seems to some extent skeptical of Van Reybrouck’s progressivist outlook and ends thusly:

[T]he dilemma of how to get elected elites to relinquish their grip on the seats of power remains unresolved. Perhaps the starting point is to question ourselves: are we, in fact, electoral fundamentalists?