Democratising Deliberation: Parliamentarism, Deliberative Democracy and Lotteries

This article [PDF], by Anthoula Malkopoulou, is a commentary on the work of political theorist Kari Palonen on parliamentarianism. In response to recent scepticism, Palonen’s support for the ‘classical paradigm of elected Members of Parliament looks outdated and insufficiently responsive to the challenge of rising inequalities’:

On one hand, sceptics point to the inherent aristocratic or elitist character of elections, embodied in the perceived superiority of representatives compared to the represented (Manin 1997, 134–149). This is sustained not only by century-long anarchist polemics against bourgeois parliamentary democracy, or populist shaming of political corruption, but also by legitimate i.e. republican concerns about election engineering or illegitimate political lobbying. On the other hand, many scholars are worried by the growing social inequalities enabled by the predominance of economic liberalism since the 1980s (Rosanvallon 2013). These are often exacerbated by corresponding inequalities in political influence that further benefit the wealthy and socially advantaged classes (Hill 2013; Malkopoulou 2014). In this respect, legitimising the current system of parliamentary government and providing its apology sounds far too elitist and self-defeating.
In response to such scepticism, Kari has showed some interest in opening his parliamentary model of deliberation to new modes of inclusion . . . his ideal-typical democratic innovations include the practice of rotation, election of singular representatives who are not linked to political parties, and recently, support for the random choice of representatives (Palonen 2014, 345). This turn is linked to the dissociation of random selection from Habermasian consensus and its support by klerotarians as a device that is independent of the process of deliberation (Stone, Delannoi and Dowlen 2013).

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