This paper examines problems with Austrian democracy and offers a solution leading to enhanced democratization based on the mechanism of sortition-based deliberative democracy. To operationalize democratization, the equality and mutually binding dimensions of Tilly’s framework are utilized. Firstly, problems with Austrian democracy are discussed. A representative gap based on the underrepresentation of certain groups in parliament is identified and linked to a weaker policy influence of these groups. Then, flaws of the electoral system and the Volksbegehren mechanism of bottom-up direct democracy are outlined. The author concludes that there is room for democratization in Austria along Tilly’s equality and mutually binding dimensions. Secondly, sortition-based deliberative democracy is presented as a remedy to these problems. An institutionalization of sortition-based deliberative democracy combined with the Volksbegehren mechanism and a binding vote is identified as a vehicle for democratization.
Evidence for practice
Keywords: democratization, representation, equality, binding decision-making, sortition-based deliberative democracy
Citation: Safadi, N. (2022). How Can Sortition Based Deliberative Democracy Enhance Democratization in Austria? Public Note, 9 (4-13)
"Hello! I am Naji Safadi, a third-year bachelor’s student in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics at the University of Amsterdam. Pursuing my interests in democratization and inequality has made me realize that even in supposedly “advanced” democracies, power is concentrated in the hands of the few and the privileged. In this paper, I identify problems with the political system of my home country Austria and try to demonstrate how political inequality can be tackled by giving more power to ordinary citizens. Because I am originally from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, I am also interested in the complex dynamics of occupation, especially concerning how occupation can be justified, whether occupation can be “peaceful”, and under what conditions people consent to the rule of their occupiers. In my free time, I like to have fun."