Doparies. A Novel Party Deliberative and Aggregative Decision-Making Mechanism to Improve the Quality of Representative Democracy

The failings of parties are one of the central problems of contemporary democracies. What can be done to revive citizen participation? In this article, we present a novel party participatory decision-making mechanism named "doparies". They are procedures that are nationally or locally implemented within and by parties, and permit any voter who declares to be an elector of that party (open doparies) or party members (internal doparies) to vote regarding crucial and controversial decisions during the period between one election and another. Whereas primaries are done before elections for choosing party candidates, doparies are done after elections for making party choices on issues. Doparies represent a bidirectional communication system between voters and representatives, and would retain the advantages of primaries (party-voters relationship) and referenda (debate before the vote), but would limit the excessive personalization of politics focusing on issues and not on people. There are both propositional doparies, allowing citizens to raise problems that are absent from their party political agenda, and consultative ones, allowing parties to hear the true voice of their voters, who, differently from what happens in polls, are informed by debates in party circles. We suggest that doparies are a new combination of deliberative and aggregative processes, and hypothesize that they can counteract parties' crisis and abstention. Procedures similar to doparies are now part of the Italian Democratic Party statute and prominent national leaders have gathered signatures to organize local consultations. The use of primaries by Italian left-wing parties has had a contagious effect on right-wing ones as well as European ones. The same could happen with doparies.

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Raffaele Calabretta
Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, Stati Uniti d'America
Sage Open (2011). doi:10.1177/2158244011433699
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Raffaele Calabretta/titolo:Doparies. A Novel Party Deliberative and Aggregative Decision-Making Mechanism to Improve the Quality of Representative Democracy/doi:10.1177/2158244011433699/rivista:Sage Open/anno:2011/pagina_da:/pag
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