Direct democracy and participatory democracy can be, under certain conditions, a way of dealing with the citizen’s disengagement from representative politics. A range of other ways of involving citizens in governance has emerged, fuelled by web and social media applications: participatory budgeting and crowdfunding for government projects, for example, give community members a voice in the fiscal decision‑making processes and invite them to deliberate on the local authorities’ financial decisions. Citizen watchdogs are another relevant example of initiatives taken by citizens who wish to document a fact. They encourage both citizens to know more about their elected officials' conduct and the latter's responsiveness towards their votes, with the positive effect of reducing the level of corruption. Are these phenomena confined to a few pioneering cities or are they heralding a shift towards participatory democracy?

Vouliwatch: “Empowering Democracy”, Greece

Vouliwatch has developed an online interactive parliamentary monitoring platform which is equipped with a series of digital applications aiming at facilitating citizen control and monitoring over the Greek legislative process whilst enabling citizen participation and direct communication with their elected representatives. This is a legislative monitoring tool which records all votes that take place in parliament whilst breaking down legislation in layman’s terms. It includes profiles for all Greek MPs/MEPs where citizens can monitor their individual activities (including their financial interest statements) & question them publicly as well as send them their own policy recommendations (MPs responses are published on their profiles). it also features a comparative tool which analyses each political party’s stance on given policy areas. A news feed with the latest parliamentary news is also included, as well as access to and analysis of parliamentary data (including a budget tracker) in machine readable/open format.