Sortition As a Means to Fight Corruption
17 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 23, 2013
Electoral democracy is in crisis. The use of sortition in our political systems could be a key to renewing and deepening democracy. But how to do so? And where to start? In this paper, I explore the idea that using sortition to address the problem of corruption could be a first step. Why? For two reasons. First, corruption of elected officials is an internal inconsistency of electoral democracy – it cannot be resolved adequately through electoral institutions. Second, there is also a large consensus on the fact – everybody agrees – that corruption is a problem.
I suggest granting the power to convene an Investigation Commission to a randomly selected citizen body. This body should also nominate the Commission’s head and receive its recommendations. I also discuss the idea of a Citizens’ Court to directly address the problem of corruption of elected officials. This broad jury would judge and sanction corrupted elected officials. Taking Quebec’s ongoing corruption saga as an example, I also try to see how the system would work in reality and, finally, where the system, once put into place, could lead to.
Keywords: Sortition, Random selection, Corruption, Quebec, Citizen Assembly, Citizen Court
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