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EU sortition assembly and legitimacy 3

July 21, 2017
  1. Selected range of permutations:

With this we close the range of permutation criteria and move to the second part of our exposition in which we identify the combination of criteria which best fit each of the rival proposals. For purposes of clarity, we will presume that Gastil and Wright (forthcoming)’s preferred proposal consists in that put forward in their opening chapter: with the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, “a sortition chamber with 250 members would provide a popular counterpoint” (29)[1]. Following their reasoning, this sortition assembly would, on our reading, include the following permutation criteria:

  1. Power or function: Decision-making (drafting and vetoing legislation)
  2. Institutionalization: By executive fiat
  3. Institutional embedding Paired with a legislative body
  4. Institutional level Supernational (EU-level)
  5. Publicity Transparency (both), b. Diffusion (either)

In contrast, our rival would put forward the following combination:

  1. Power or function: Deliberation-making (upstream deliberation)
  2. Institutionalization: By executive fiat
  3. Institutional embedding Paired with a legislative body
  4. Institutional level Supernational (EU-level)
  5. Publicity Transparency (both), b. Diffusion (either)

At first blush, all that which separates Gastil and Wright’s proposal from our own is the shift from decision-making power to a deliberation-making function. Our reasons for this will come out more clearly during the practical test for feasibility and legitimacy to follow, as well as in its more theoretical counterpart.

[1] In fairness, the authors set out a number of other proposals of which the above is but one. Namely, they ask whether it might not be foreseeable to create a sortition assembly in countries with either weak or healthy democratic institutions and looking to reform those institutions (Gastil and Wright forthcoming: 28-9).

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