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Deliberative Commission between citizens and parliamentarians

Brussels, Belgium

Promoting entity

Parlement de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale et Parlement francophone bruxellois


Since March (French-speaking parliament) and April 2021 (Brussels parliament)

Type of experience:

  • Assemblies
  • Citizens' juries
  • Deliberative spaces
  • Citizens' initiatives
  • Legislative initiative
  • Permanent Council Space
  • workshop for diagnosis, follow-up, etc.

Objective of the experience

"To improve the quality of public decision making through participatory democracy mechanisms" and "To improve public policy through the active participation of the inhabitants" is the fundamental objective. Attempting to offer a response to the "democratic fatigue syndrome" identified by David Van Reybrouck ("Against elections"), the deliberative commissions effectively aim to reconcile representatives and represented by offering them a space for dialogue whose objective is to contribute, together, to decision-making.

Territorial scope

The entire Brussels region

Thematic area

  • Governance
  • All areas of competence of both parliaments

A deliberative commission is a place of debate between parliamentarians and citizens drawn by lot (¼ of parliamentarians, ¾ of citizens). A deliberative commission can be convened to deal with a theme that can be proposed either by one or more political groups, or by a citizen who introduces a citizen suggestion.

The selection of citizens is done by a double draw. The drawing of lots makes it possible to involve people who are far from participation and decision-making. The draw is made via the numbers of the National Register of Brussels citizens. Residents of the Brussels-Capital Region who are 16 years of age or older and registered in the National Register are eligible for the draw. There are no exclusion criteria based on nationality or time of residence. During the first draw, 10,000 letters are sent to the Brussels residents selected at random. The second draw is then made among the respondents of the first draw. This second draw selects the participants who will sit in the Parliament during the deliberative commissions as well as their substitutes. It serves to compensate for inequalities in participation and takes into account the following socio-demographic criteria: gender, age, geographical distribution, language, and level of education.

The deliberation process takes place in three stages: the information phase, the deliberative phase and the voting phase. These three stages are preceded by a preparatory phase.

Following the second draw, an information session on the process for participants and parliamentarians is planned. The purpose of this information session is to explain the different stages of the process, with a particular focus on the publicity of the debates and the question of anonymity, and to examine any specific support required. Particular attention is given to four target groups that are less likely to respond: young people, people furthest from participation and decision-making, people with disabilities and people with young children. Specific information sessions, as well as other measures, are planned for these groups.

During the first meetings, experts present an information sheet to the participants and parliamentarians. Hearings of various actors are organized to contribute to the appropriation and knowledge of the subject.

Then, the deliberation phase separates the participants into small groups to allow them to deliberate and formulate recommendations that will then be shared.

After several meetings of the deliberative commission, parliamentarians and citizens together propose recommendations that will be dealt with in Parliament. The recommendations can lead to legislation, questions to the government and will therefore guide political decisions. Within 9 months after the end of the deliberative commission, the parliamentarians who participated in the deliberative commission are obliged to follow up on the recommendations, which will be presented publicly to the citizens who participated in the deliberative commission and published on the platform

Summary Parlement bruxellois

Summary Parlement francophone bruxellois