Deligiaouri, A., Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, UK
The Internet and its innovative communicative codes stand at the centre of a discussion regarding a new more participatory, direct and “strong” democracy. The widespread use of the Internet and its applications have profound implications on several facets of political life, such as the procedure of rulemaking. In modern, “large-scale” democracies, the complexity and plurality of political interests seem to be under-represented in official parliamentary procedures. The model of open governance enables citizens to contribute towards how decisions are taken and accordingly democratize rulemaking. At the same time, it increases their ability to exercise control over the elected political representatives.
www.opengov.gr was launched by the newly-elected government of the Socialist party in Greece (PASOK) in October 2009. In this website, draft laws per ministry are uploaded and citizens can upload their comments on every article, expressing their opinion or their disagreement. This online deliberative procedure provides a forum for constructive civic engagement on rulemaking and, moreover, given that the comments are incorporated into the final legal document, the chance for citizens to affect policy making to a certain degree. The website also provides the opportunity to watch videos of cabinet councils as a fulfillment of transparency in political procedures. This paper examines how the premise of open governance is being implemented by the e-rulemaking process on the specific website, and assesses its impact on legislation and policymaking issues.