Poll Results May 2021

Citizens' Assemblies

In parliamentary democracies politicians are appointed through general elections. In recent years, some countries have also organized citizens’ assemblies. These are chosen randomly – accounting for gender, age and other factors to ensure similarity to the citizenry as a whole. The citizens’ assemblies deliberate current political issues and are given the time and resources to explore them. Finally, the assemblies give recommendations to politicians on a course of action.
Question 1

Do you believe that citizens’ assemblies would have an impact on political decisions?

86% Yes

14% No


Elaborated answers

Yes. As they would act as as deliberation forums (in parallel to National Parliaments), autonomous from them, they would be able to provide for policy inputs, unbiased to partisanship and party framing (everyday political party arguments/justifications).

Yes. Because public opinion is important to politicians, and they (the public) may be able to influence political decision-making.

Yes. People could discuss the matters, reaching a consensus for the possible situations, and they could be aware of the various possibilities of the decisions to be taken. It would give the politicians a different perspective on the situations allowing for a more broad opinion and considering several perspectives.

No. I have selected no as I believe the consequences from these assemblies would only impact decisions if the electoral system permits holding accountable a specific politician as would occur with senators in the USA. If there isn’t a manner to hold an individual accountable or for the citizens’ to push through their ideas, their proposals will only be taking into consideration and will only be carried out if beneficial to the politicians. Sometimes unpopular policies are the most effective in the long term but these are never carried out as politicians are forced to focus on the short term.

Yes, but only under certain conditions. Firstly, their task must be clear. They must engage citizens around a clear mandate and enable them to make meaningful trade-offs. Secondly, there must be sufficient time to answer a question in order for their recommendations to have a strong impact. For example, complex issues such as climate change may need several weeks of discussion before taking a decision. Thirdly, this kind of deliberative processes needs to be formally tied into the political process to ensure they have real impact. An example could be running citizens’ assemblies in partnership with city councils (asking the mayor to agree, ahead of the assembly’s sitting, to commit to implementing any proposal that receives more than **% support from the assembly).

Yes. I hope so, that’s why I answered yes, even if politicians don’t seem really concerned about citizens’ opinions. But I believe that the personal is political, so citizens’ assemblies seem a good way to share ideas about political issues and discuss about them.

Yes. This is because citizens will have their democratic right of selecting a leader they want according to their Manifestos and integrity.

Question 2

Do you believe that citizens’ assemblies would improve the quality of political decisions?

80% Yes

20% No


Elaborated answers

Yes. As they could provide for an alternative Civil Society advocacy tool, they can definitely influence the diversity, leading to better quality of policy making processes.

Yes. Similar to what I have said previously, citizens’ assemblies could give politicians a taste of what is important to the public, and they (the politicians) may make decisions based on what the public opinion is.

Yes. It is certainly a stride toward improving political decisions as it further minimizes the gap between politicians and citizens (making the current system less like and enlightened despotism) as well as giving an incentive to public participation in politics and a consequent greater knowledge of political activity.

No, because politicians usually do what’s best for their party nor for citizens. Most of them don’t care about citizens’ beliefs.

Yes. Because Citizens will have an opportunity to interact with their leaders and choose the one they think is competent for any position.

Yes, because they provide an effective means of “confronting people with hard choices” and getting the public to engage with the issues “from an informed perspective”. They can help government ministers make tough choices by giving them a sense of what an informed public want, what they feel is fair, and what they could accept, thus potentially unlocking politically difficult issues.

Question 3

Do you believe that citizens’ assemblies would enhance the influence of people that are less well-represented through regular parliamentary democracy?

73% Yes

27% No


Elaborated answers

No. Although the members of Citizens Assemblies may be random choices, yet the meaningful engagement within them, requires for a set of resources, time and desire to actively participate in discussions. Thus, the part of society which are under-represented in ordinary parliamentary processes, will still face similar constraints (as to those that keep them away from engaging in formal political/institutional processes).

Yes – in my country, there is a large gap between politicians who went to prestigious Universities and are rich, compared to those who are not.

Yes. Within certain limitations determined by age among others there are plenty of people who either don’t vote or are under represented for having a minority view and so in choosing these assemblies randomly these people will be given a voice. Nonetheless it is debatable as to whether or not this is good.

No. Due to the ongoing corruption in most of the African countries it will never make it easy to influence parliamentarians.

No. I don’t think so, considering that they should bring together a representative sample of the population, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, social class and place of residence, and often in addition, in terms of attitude.

Question 4

Do you believe that citizens’ assemblies would increase trust and interest in political decision-making among the general public?

86% Yes

14% No


Elaborated answers

Yes, because the public will feel “seen” and feel listened to.

Yes. It would certainly create a greater feeling of community and a larger capacity for the population to feel as though they are being integrated and taken into account as even though their proposals and ideas may not succeed they will feel heard which will suffice a large chunk of the population.

Yes. Because the citizens will be involved in decision making.

Yes, to the extent that they bring together a representative sample of the population, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, social class and place of residence, and in terms of attitude.

The number of respondents to this survey was 15, in the ages of 18 to 26 and with a gender distribution of 47% female and 53% male.