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Original Posting: New Political System for the Information Age Draft #04

In response to: We share similar sentiments and concerns here - [lpc1998]

The difference between Citizens’ initiative and referendum

Email: Thu, 20 May 2004 12:25:17 -0500

Yes, I am not only a pioneer in the "teledemocracy" movement globally, but I coined the word.

What has happened, though, is that the phrase "deliberative democracy" has gained the kind of credibility I hoped "teledemocracy" might get. So, the very same movement is now better called the former instead of the latter. Right now, in fact, I'm on the Steering Committee of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (www.deliberative-democracy.net)...which is funding the Journal of Public Deliberation. We are global. There are many interesting projects. As I may have mentioned, go to www.citizensassembly.bc.ca for one tremendous project that is working like a charm in Canada. And then there is the Porto Alegre project in Brazil (now a trading ally of China)...just do a search as see how it works.

As for linking with me, I give you permission to put up our conversation(s) , link to TAN+N and DDC....Also, to answer your major question about initiative and referendum, let me first give you yet another site: www.iandrinstitute.org which is the Initiative and Referendum Institute in Washington, DC. They work on both.

The citizens initilative is what you want to do in Singapore that you describe in your new system. It is where a small percentage of voters from the past election come up with a petition that has a proposed "law" for citizens to sign as being in agreement with that proposed law. Once that percetage is reached (usually 2%-5%), and a government official certifies that they are actual citizens and voters, then it goes on the ballot for the rest of the citizens to vote on in the next election. A referendum is where the Parliament or Congress puts up a proposed "law" on the ballot for the citizens to vote on. This is far more common throughout Europe at the national level. Only Switzerland has a national citizens initiative process and a national referendum process. Again, I think the best for Singapore would be to follow the Swiss model. It is over 150 years old and look at how prosperous and peaceful a country it is.

Ted Becker
Teledemocracy Action News + Network --- TAN+N

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