23rd - 26th June 2011

The MINI-Referendums - a new model for citizens’ participation in the decision making

The project: “The MINI-Referendums - a new model for citizens’ participation in the decision making” was a result of join efforts of several bulgarian NGOs, leading by the Regional Union of NGOs (Plovdiv.The Regional Union of Non-Governmental Organizations has developed and applied a unique mechanism of Rotation Democracy (so called “Citizens’ Jury”, a variant of Direct democracy) in Plovdiv Municipality, that is the bigger municipality in Bulgaria (400 000 inhabitants). The Citizens Jury has functioned as a “second Chamber” – a “Citizens’ Chamber” of the Municipal Council - and ensured public participation in decision making, voting for several significant topics. This Citizens Jury includes about 1000 randomly selected citizens, that discuss, decide and vote on some very important municipal topics, while the actual City Council is also voting on the same problem. The decisions would be legally binding only if both bodies vote on the same way. )
The main results are the more active role, acquired by the citizens and their NGOs in the decision-making processes, expressed more concretely in:
• Functioning mechanism, provoking permanent civil activeness and stimulating the development of civil society;
• Establishing a reflex of respect of the ruling authorities towards NGOs and civil society; strengthening the democratic practices and habits concerning the consideration of public opinion among the local government representatives;
• New forms of responsibility allocation;
• Additional transparency; prevention of law-evading policies, corruption and anti-democracy practices of local authorities
• Actual involvement of citizens in solving problems of significance for the Municipality; citizens are more active and aware about the need, reason and feasibility of civil activities

Contact Details
Name: 
NIKOLAY BLIZNAKOV
Organisation: 
REGIONAL UNION OF NGO ‘S
Country: 
BULGARIA /city of Plovdiv/
E-mail: 
Telephone: 
+359 899144059