September 12, 2016
According to Eurobarometer, a staggering 71% of EU citizens think that politics is unrepresentative, which was supported by the lowest ever voter turnout in the 2014 EU Elections.
Citizens want to be an active part of the discussion for local, national, and even international issues, but the system is not designed to be responsive. More specifically, for young voters, the lack of technology and feedback in today’s archaic model of party politics has created both apathy and distrust.
The broken mirror
I have explored this issue and its potential solutions. “People often complain about politics, but some say it is simply a mirror of society”, she says. “Well what if the mirror is broken?”
As reported by FEPS, only 18% of German youth said they were interested in politics, whilst 64% of them thought that politicians largely ignored their views. According to Sevinc’s model, named Democracy 4.0, there is a substantial gap between 21st century technology and the 20th century structure of political parties.
Democracy is not all about elections, neither is it simply a matter of political institutions. Rather, it is about people, their lives and values and an constant evolution. Democracy is transparency, public consultation, open discussion, common progressive values, and accountability of politicians.
General elections held every 4-5 years are not an effective mechanic to update the political system for our society’s modern needs. The public must be able to keep track of policies, decisions, and their fact-based results. This presents a unique opportunity to disrupt the way in which politics is presented by making use of innovation in order to eradicate the democratic deficit, which is the gap between our input and output of political legitimacy.
We must not mistake apathy and distrust with a complete lack of care. Citizens do care about politics, but they feel powerless and disillusioned about the political process itself.
We cannot fix inefficient governance until we achieve “smart citizenship”. As a result of the technology revolution, we now have more channels of communication and better software, which presents many opportunities for a deeper participatory democratic system.
We must open up our institutions like the leaf, we must let the nutrients flow throughout our body politics, throughout our culture, to create open institutions, to create a stronger democracy, a better tomorrow.
Through institutional and technological reform, Smart Democracy & Smart Citizenship’s objective is not only to fix the broken mirror, but to develop it beyond its current two-dimensional state.