Representative democracy, as a dominant model of democracy architecture, is being challenged by decreasing citizen trust and participation, the fragmentation of power and the emergence of new actors which use information technologies to improve the direct involvement of people in policy-making through, inter alia, e-petitions, e-deliberation, and monitoring of institutions' performance. The most pressing question in this context is how to reconcile alternative, novel forms of democratic governance with traditional models of democracy in order to increase the transparency, accountability, effectiveness and legitimacy of democratic systems, and to avoid institutional paralysis and political instability.

Labs of theme 1