Copenhagen authorities want to involve residents in the governance of the city, and not only at election time, Source: Unsplash

Copenhagen tests a citizens’ parliament with lottery-selected MPs

Copenhagen tests a citizens’ parliament with lottery-selected MPs

The initiative aims to build up on the already existing citizens’ assemblies in the Danish capital

The official website of the Copenhagen Municipality announced that this year the city is launching a pioneering for Denmark initiative with the creation of a Citizens Parliament, which will include 36 representatives. The parliament members will be selected randomly from across the board to ensure a wide representation of the population of the Danish capital.

The aim of the initiative, which for now will run in 2023 and 2024, will be to ensure a more democratic process of local governance, which takes into account the opinion of the residents in real-time rather than waiting every four years until the next election cycle rolls in.

From neighbourhood scope to city scope

Copenhagen already counts with so-called citizens’ assemblies, however, these are only concerned with neighbourhood matters. The authorities have now decided to set up a larger structure, which will see residents gathering to propose and discuss general matters that concern the entire city.

Naturally, this won’t be considered a political or full-time office. Think of it more like attending a neighbours’ association meeting but to decide on municipal matters. Altogether, the selected participants will contribute about 35 hours per year from their time to attend sessions of the Citizen Parliament, which have a pre-determined schedule.

At the sessions, they will listen to experts presenting plans regarding urban development, then they will debate them to formulate recommendations to the elected politicians. The recommendations will be handed over to politicians and professional administrations in the Municipality of Copenhagen, who will have to take them into account when drafting policy.

Lord Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (S) commented on the occasion: "We must create Copenhagen together with the people of Copenhagen. The people of Copenhagen must be even closer than before when we lay the tracks for our common city. That's why I'm really happy that we and the Copenhagen Parliament are striking a joint effort for more involvement, and I'm very much looking forward to hearing ideas and recommendations for what we should focus on in the future when we want to develop a city for everyone.”



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