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When Citizens DecideLessons from Citizen Assemblies on Electoral Reform$
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Patrick Fournier, Henk van der Kolk, R. Kenneth Carty, André Blais, and Jonathan Rose

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567843

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567843.001.0001

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Why Citizen Assemblies and How did they Work?

Why Citizen Assemblies and How did they Work?

(p.21) 2 Why Citizen Assemblies and How did they Work?
When Citizens Decide

Patrick Fournier

Henk van der Kolk

R. Kenneth Carty

André Blais

Jonathan Rose

Oxford University Press

When the idea to have a citizen assembly on electoral reform was first advanced, no one knew how it might be done. The precedent of British Columbia’s successful assembly meant that a model was available when Dutch and Ontario politicians needed a mechanism to consider the issue. In this chapter, the reasons why the assemblies were created and how they functioned are considered. By describing the structure and operation of the citizen assemblies, a more complete understanding of the unique cases around which this study revolves is developed. It discusses how the assemblies worked. And it raises issues that will be explored more extensively later on, like the representativeness of the participants, the influence of the staff on decisions, the impact of lobbying and public consultations, and the reasons behind the rejection of the proposals by voters and governments.

Keywords:   electoral reform, citizen assemblies, origins, organizations, workings

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