This is an extract from the book by Tony Czarnecki: Who Could Save Humanity from Superintelligence? EuropeanUnion, NATO or… China? – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Could-Save-Humanity-Superintelligence-ebook/dp/B07C4PJF87. It covers a new system of democracy called Consensual Presidential Democracy, as one of the key measures to minimize existential risks facing Humanity. It is put in context of the future European Federation, but it is set up in such a way that it could be adapted by any organization or a country. This extract does not provide any justification for the set up of the new democracy – they are fully discussed in the book. Please leave any comment at the bottom of this page.I have identified in earlier chapters, key problems of the democratic system and potential solutions that could improve democracy. I would now like to use the conclusions from that analysis to look for a new democratic system, which would support the purpose and main objectives of the European Federation, which go beyond the transition period, i.e. until at least 2040. They are:
- To facilitate the federalization process of the EU in such a way that it will centralize only the very essential powers, leaving the rest of decisions making at the lowest possible level of governance
- To significantly reshape the relationships between the governed and the governing instilling more trust through a greater transparency and continual accountability
- To protect Humanity from existential risks that may emerge from global political, social and economic disorder through combinatorial effects
- To protect Humanity from other existential risks, especially coming from Superintelligence
- To prepare Humanity for the time when we will coexist with Superintelligence, which potentially could start the best period in human history (if we mitigate the risks successfully)
- To prepare Humanity for even more challenging task – a gradual merging of our species with Superintelligence.
So, which democratic system could take all this into account, and which one will help us most to resolve the problems we are facing right now and, equally importantly, in the near future? An organization called “Democracy building” (Democracy_building, 2004) has quite succinctly summarized the basic functions of democratic systems, which I have adapted and appraised for their suitability of reducing existential risks and for becoming a foundation for the Constitution of the European Federation.
Which democracy is best for mitigating Humanity’s existential risks? (Democracy_building, 2004)
What clearly comes out fromthis table and the previous analysis is that there are some significant formal and institutional differences between Direct, Presidential and Parliamentary Democracy offering some choice. However, when you look at the requirements list above, it is obvious that none of these systems is good enough on its own for our needs. Let me give you some examples:
- There is no democratic system in the world that would guarantee in its constitution self-determination of a region leading to setting up a separate state (the best recent example is the case of Catalonia). Even if such articles exist they always have a caveat that the region must first seek the consent of the state from which it wants to separate.
- There is no system of government in any democracy that would envisage a strong separation of legislative and executive powers by forbidding MPs to sit in the government.
- There is no democracy system whose constitution would facilitate governmental powers enabling it to act effectively in fighting existential risks that face us all. That is of course logical, since only the government acting on behalf of the whole Humanity would need such a prerogative. Since I have suggested the EF as the organization that will have the greatest potential to take up such a role of the World Government, it must have such provisions in its constitution.
So, the conclusion is there is no single democratic system that would fulfil our requirements, nor any silver bullet solution that we could apply for our needs. Therefore, I propose an amalgamation of several features present in various democratic systems and adding some new ones, creating in effect a new type of democracy, which I propose to call Consensual Presidential Democracy.
Consensual Presidential Democracy is a system of democracy aimed at governing with maximum consensus, where the voice of the ‘losing’ minority is always taken into account. It gives the President exceptionally strong powers against the strongest accountability and recall procedures, to enable him to play a crucial role as conciliator and moderator between two opposing parties, each represented by one Vice President. This system deepens the separation of legislative and executive powers by having a technocratic government. It also has the widest representation of the electorate, where the representatives to the Parliament are elected using a combined First Past the Post and the Two Rounds System of weighted voting and where a half of the second chamber of the parliament is elected based on a Sortition system.
The overall assumption underlying the Consensual Presidential Democracy is that we can only survive the extremely dangerous transition to post-Superintelligence period, if we work more closely together, which means a gradual federalization of the whole world. We must be acting as one whole, as Humanity. That is why Consensual Presidential Democracy is built on the following principles:
- The political representatives are elected in the way, where they represent most closely the will of the majority but do not at the same time ignore the needs of the minority. The ‘losing’ minority is not being trampled down but always heard and all decisions are taken by consensus rather than being enforced
- Politicians are mainly elected to pass the law and oversee the execution of the law of the land but do not play any part in the execution of these laws
- That leads to a much clearer separation of the legislative and executive powers when the government is run almost entirely by technocrats and specialists
- Deeper separation of legislative and executive powers will also insulate law makers from short-term political pressures and deliver better quality law
- Any long-term decision, e.g. lasting a generation like in education, health or infrastructure projects, would be decided by Sortition Assemblies and then approved by both Houses of the Parliament
- The key role of this new style of democracy is first of all to assist Humanity in passing through the most dangerous period in its existence with minimum harm. It will also prepare Humanity to be governed like a Planetary Civilization, which at some stage will be ready for an eventual coexistence and a possible merger with Superintelligence, irrespective of the form it may take – mind uploading, transhumanism or any other way.
- The role of the President is crucial in Consensual Presidential Democracy for two reasons:
- The President has exceptionally strong powers in order to make very quickly, the most important decisions at the time of crisis, such as the emergence of an existential risk
- The President plays a crucial role as a moderator and a conciliatory force when the majority and the minority parties cannot come to a consensus on their own
- Although there is a centralisation of key powers, the range of those powers is kept to an absolute minimum
- Therefore, most governing powers rest with the lowest level of decision making
- The consensual style of government also covers the redistribution of wealth on a global scale, mainly financed by the future rapid growth in productivity, provided by immense number of intelligent robots delivering to humans the world of affluence never experienced by humanity
- The governmental powers are far stronger than in any western democracy right now, to make the government more effective in fighting existential risks that can materialize within hours
- The voice of the governed is heard and acted on by the governing on an on-going basis rather than just during the elections
- Strong powers of the president and the government are counterbalanced by an unprecedented level of scrutiny, transparency and accountability
Such a new style of democracy will, in my view, have a better chance of supporting the new European Federation and indeed any other organization, or a state, that would take on the role of the World Government and withstand even more severe challenges than those to which the EU may be exposed in the near future.
All those principles of Consensual Presidential Democracy are put forward for consideration to be embedded in the Constitution of the European Federation, which will become a legal framework for all laws, based on the values accepted by a significant majority of the society (for a full list of such values see Part 2, chapter 3), and which establishes a new democratic order.
The Constitution of the European Federation
I have already discussed in some detail the “Universal Values of Humanity” and “How to overcome the crisis of Democracy”. These two areas are the core of Consensual Presidential Democracy, which has become the foundation for the proposed Constitution of the European Federation that I informally call the ‘Constitution of Humanity’. Just to remind you, such a Constitution would come into force not right now, but by about 2030, when EF might become a single state. I would also like to stress that this is in not a draft of the future Constitution but rather a proposal for the content of key articles of that Constitution based on Consensual Presidential Democracy, as my input to a debate on such Constitution.
I have summarized the principles of the Constitution in the chart below.
Therefore, the main articles of the Constitution of the European Federation laid out below are really just the headlines, proposing what such an article should contain, with some justification, rather than how it should be precisely formulated. My comments are in italics.
The foundations of this Constitution are based on Consensual Presidential Democracy. The Constitution takes into account the new challenges that Humanity faces and asserts:
- The predominance of twelve Universal Values of Humanity in all laws and decisions, which are: Freedom, Democracy, Equality, Justice & the rule of law, Human Dignity, Social Solidarity, Tolerance, Life, Peace, National Security, Family Safety and Nature & Beauty (those values have been defined in Part 2, Chapter 3)
- Human rights, based on the above values, must be balanced with citizens’ responsibilities
- A non-faith based system of governance, education and social activities is applied in all public domains
- A Judaeo-Christian culture is accepted as a unifying culture underpinning the culture of Humanity, while ensuring other cultures to flourish, as long as they do not undermine the homogeneity of the common culture. (To avoid even much bigger internal tensions than it has today, Europe cannot risk cultural tensions on a grand scale. That would be the worst outcome for everyone and I am writing about it in the last chapter. People change very slowly their mentality, and acceptability of entirely new norms of behaviour and inter-racial and multi-cultural relationships One generation would not be enough to achieve a reasonable social cohesion. Therefore, in such a difficult transitionary period, the EF must minimize social tensions and ensure that the its culture remains as homogenous as possible).
- Non- hereditary system of governance (so that all Constitutional Monarchies in Europe, such as in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, or in the UK, if it stays in the EU, would have to be converted into Republics and the current monarchs given a special, non-constitutional role, e.g. National Hereditary Governor or a similar title, effectively as a permanent minister).
ARTICLES OF THE CONSTITUTION
- European Federation
The member states of the former European Union decide to become a federated state called the European Federation (EF). The system of governance applied in the EF is Consensual Presidential Democracy.
- European Federation organization
The member states agree for the EF to be set up on the following basis:
- Each member states remains sovereign to the extent that it can leave the EF at any time
- European Federation has its own constitution, legislature, parliament, government and courts
- Each member state has its own constitution, legislature, parliament, government and courts, which must be compliant with the EF constitution
- The EF Constitution has precedence above national constitutions
- The compliance of a member state’s constitutions with the EF Constitution is mandatory and is adjudicated by the European Constitutional Court
- A member state can be suspended or expelled from the EF
- Any EF nation or region has the right to secede from its current state. It can then immediately become a member of the EF, or secede from the EF altogether
- Each member state retains all powers and competencies not delegated to the EF by the EF’s Constitution. That includes the rights to own taxation, healthcare, welfare, education and law enforcement but with the exception of Federal Police, which will in certain cases be in charge on federal matters
- Each member state is represented in foreign affairs by the EF Foreign Affairs minister
- Each member state’s army is consolidated into the EF Army
- Each member state contributes a certain proportion of its GDP to the EF budget
- Economy of the EF is based on common currency, a common federal budget and key economic policies such as interest rate
- The Constitution of the EF promotes consensual politics and favours planning and implementing solutions from the perspective of at least one generation and not a parliamentary term
- English is the only official language used in the Federation
- Subsidiaries of the European Federation
- The member states agree for the EF to have the following subsidiaries (zones):
- European Federation Convergence Area (EFCA), which is also known as Zone 1
- European Federation Single Market Area (EFSM), which is also known as Zone 2
- European Federation Customs Union (EFCU), which is known as Zone 3
- European Federation Association Area (EFAA), which is also known as Zone 4.
- EF has a process of accepting member states from other EF’s zones into the EF itself, once they meet the required EF criteria
- The regulations applying to free movement of people, goods, services and capital are agreed between the EF and the members of the relative zone
- Any new member state, apart from the members of the EFCU and EFAA zones must have a constitution compliant with the Constitution of the European Federation
- For member states in Zones 1 and 2 there are Amendments and Exceptions to this Constitution
- The foundational principles of the European Federation
The European Federation adheres to the following Universal Values of Humanities (see Part 2, Chapter 3 for the full list – this is only a sample):
- Equality of all before the law is preserved in all domains
- Constitutionally guaranteed separation of Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers is further improved by a stricter separation of these powers as follows:
- Legislative powers are split into two Houses of the Parliament: the Lower House and the Senate. The Senate is split into two chambers: the Senators Chamber and the Sortition Chamber. (Ensures among others continuous verification that the laws are passed for the benefits of all and not just the majority and that the elected representatives are held to account not just during elections but throughout the whole term of the Parliament).
- The Executive powers are moved further away from the legislative powers by creating a government run exclusively by experts who cannot be MPs, apart from the Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Home Office and Finance ministers
- Judicial Power of the courts of justice of the EF and of the member states courts are continuously monitored by the European Constitutional Court on the legality of the judgments with the EF Constitution
- Laws can only be passed by the EF Parliament
- The government acts in the interest of all citizens and not just those one supporting the largest party. It achieves that by reaching consensus with the minority parties on decisions made (and thus ending the ‘tyranny of majority’).
- The EF has a written constitution and so do all members of the EF. Those members, which currently do not comply with this article, will have a period of one parliament term to align their constitution with the EF’s constitution. (In the EU, it is only the UK that does not have a written constitution. If the UK wished to change its mind, call off Brexit and continue its membership in the EU, it would be another challenge freshly after that country’s return to the EU to have a referendum on this subject in about 10 years’ time. That is unlikely, therefore, UK, would have to get another opt out for a certain period, if it decides to join the Federation after 2030.)
- Greater decentralisation of some powers. The EF repatriates some of the existing powers vested in the EU institutions back to regions and even to a lower local level, significantly strengthening the local democracy. (This is similar to the Swiss and Scandinavian models).
- Greater centralisation of some powers. The EF strengthens some key powers to enable effective operation of the EF as a federal state.
- The institutions of the European Federation
- International Constitutional Court, which would oversee the compliance of national constitutions with the EF Constitution
- European Federation Court of Justice
- European Federation Court of Human Rights and Responsibilities merging some competences of the current European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights
- The Parliament of the European Federation
- The President of the Federation elected on a pan-European basis by all citizens of the EF
- Prime Minister selected from MPs by the President
- Defence Minister selected from MPs by the President. (This area would no longer be the competency of a member state joining the EF. However, over the first year, the member state’s Defence Minister will be an advisor on the former member state’s defence policy.)
- Foreign Affairs Minister selected from MPs by the President (The former EU members will no longer carry out their own foreign policy. However, to smoothen the transition period after joining the EF, over the first year of the EF membership, the EF’s Foreign Affairs Minister will be shadowed by the member state’s Foreign Affairs Minister).
- Internal Affairs (Home Office) Minister selected from MPs by the President. The main function of the Internal Affairs Minister will be to co-ordinate EF-wide policies, so that former EU member states will have almost the same powers as before federalization.
- Finance Minister selected from MPs by the President. (The EF will have its single Finance Minister with considerable powers. He will set the budgets, fiscal policies and interest rates for the whole EF. However, the process of transition to a full EF control of the former member state’s budgetary and fiscal function will be evolutionary and will happen over 5 years. Each year, an additional 10% of the former EU member state’s budget would be transferred to the EU budget to be managed centrally by the EF Finance Minister. Therefore, after 5 years only 50% of the former EU member state’s budget will be managed by its Finance Minister)
- All other existing EU Institutions and Agencies will perform its function largely as before.
- Parliament of the European Federation. The Parliament’s role covers passing the laws, approving the composition of the government, approving the budget, and any other decisions that would have to be voted in the parliament, e.g. in the area of defence, foreign affairs, recalling the President or MPs, etc.
- The EF Parliament consists of two Houses: the Lower House – the Citizens Chamber and the Senate (the Upper House), which is split into two chambers: the Representatives Chamber (50% of the Senators) and the Sortition Chamber (also 50% of the Senators).
- Candidates are elected for a maximum of two terms
- MPs and Senators can organise themselves into clubs and committees to propose new legislation.
- President of the European Federation
- The President has very strong executive powers and governs with two Vice-presidents from the opposing parties
- The President is elected for a fixed 5-year term and can serve a maximum of two terms
- The President makes most important decisions himself, e.g. selecting the Prime Minister, or on matters regarding defence or emergency. On other matters he needs to consult the two Vice-presidents
- The President can be recalled at any time by a qualified majority of the EF Parliament
- Continuity of governance is maintained, if the President is recalled in the middle of his term, by one of the two Vice-presidents replacing him by a qualified vote in the parliament.
- The Government
- The Prime Minister is selected by the President from within the EF’s MPs and approved by the Parliament
- Five other ministers are selected by the President; Minister of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, Home Office and Finance from the MPs of the EF Parliament
- The remaining members of the Government consist of experts only. Ministers are selected by the Prime Ministers from a stand-by list of pre-approved and vetted experts.
- Other principles of governance
- Donations and loans to political parties cannot exceed €5,000 and can only be paid by individuals who appear on the electoral register
- Lobbying is allowed under strict transparency rules
- Political decisions should be devolved to the lowest governmental level capable of effectively implementing the decision
- MP’s salaries are linked to public sector wages, and should rise and fall in line with them, e.g. they could be set as 3 times the average public sector salary, the exact multiplier will be decided by an Independent Commission
- Serving MPs are not allowed to hold a second job, that is why their remuneration should be high enough to compensate for the potential loss of earnings from the job an MP had before being elected to Parliament
- All persons holding a public office are barred from standing as a candidate in any election
- Rules on MPs expenses must be transparent.
I shall use these tenets of the future Constitution of the European Federation to describe in the next two chapters the electoral and the judicial system in more detail. That will be the framework for the options of the transition of the European Union into the European Federation. Once the best option is selected, I will then describe the proposed detailed set up of the EF and its institutions.
I have reviewed in Part 2, chapter 6 the current electoral systems that could be applied for the EF. In conclusion, I proposed some fundamental attributes for such an electoral system. I shall now use them to justify why the EF Constitution should have an electoral system that I am proposing. Just to remind you again, this proposal for the electoral system for the EF assumes it would be implemented about 2030. All thresholds and the names of the institutions will of course be adjusted during the process of creating the new Constitution of the EF. This is, as other recommendations in this book, just one of many proposals that might be considered by the Constitutional Commission. The Constitution, the electoral system, and institutions of the EF that I am proposing serve only as the necessary elements in a much bigger picture – the creation of an organisation that will act on behalf of the whole Humanity, which together with the vast resources that such organisation would have, might be capable of significantly reducing existential risks.
An electoral system for the EF that I am proposing will be based on the principles of the Consensual Presidential Democracy (CPD), which itself might be the backbone of the EF Constitution, outlined earlier in this part. According to the principles of CPD, the legislation at a federal (central) level will have to be passed with maximum consensus between the parties and between the chambers of the Parliament, somewhat similar to the system in use in Scandinavia and Switzerland. The whole electoral system will be tuned to that objective, favouring the creation of coalitions, rather than a ‘strong’ single party rule.
The EF Parliament will consist of two Houses:
- The Lower House – the Citizens’ Chamber, where the MPs will be elected by all citizens of the EF
- The Upper House, consisting of two chambers. The first Chamber is the Senate, to which member states will elect their own representatives using the same system as for the election of MPs. The second chamber will be a Sortition Chamber, to which representatives from member states will be selected using a system of sortition.
The participation in the election will be mandatory, against a penalty equal, for example, to the penalty for a parking offence. Among the long-standing democracies that make voting compulsory in elections are Australia, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Other well established democratic nations – The Netherlands in 1970 and Austria more recently – repealed such legal requirements after they had been in force for decades. Mandatory voting is also used in Latin America. Examples there include Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. In some countries voting has been made compulsory at the discretion of sub-national governments, or is applied only to certain types of elections.
The most common objection on normative grounds is that citizens ought to have the right NOT to vote, as much as the right to vote, while the real reason why many people fail to vote is borne out of apathy. Some opponents of the compulsory voting in Australia claim that such voting frees political parties from their responsibilities to campaign and energize the voters. This state of affairs, they say, favours the established parties over the minor parties and independents, whose supporters are less likely to be motivated to vote. In addition, compulsory voting carries a significant administration cost for the state. Finally, there are arguments against compulsory voting questioning the accuracy of the voters’ list, voter information, and the mechanisms for the follow-up fine or punishment system for non-voting citizens.
These are, in my view, rather poor arguments. First of all, if the voting is done digitally, as I propose below, then the administration and penalty involved would be cheap to execute. Secondly, on a moral ground, participation in elections should be considered not just a right but also an obligation as a kind of evidence of common heritage and common future that needs to be shaped by all of us for the benefits of the current and the future generations. After all, we are forced to do many things that the state requires us to do, like for instance to fight in the war, not to smoke in public places, etc. for an identical purpose, to keep us together safer and more prosperous.
There will be a multi-party system in the EF with four types of electoral systems: for the Citizens Chamber, the Senate, the President, and for referenda and petitions. No electable mandate can extend beyond two five-year terms.
Proportional representation will be applied for the election of the candidates to the Citizens Chamber of the Parliament of the EF, local elections and for the election of the President using Two-Rounds System. The MPs will be elected by the voters from one-mandate constituency (district). Party lists will not be allowed, in order to maintain closer link between the voters and their representative.
Direct democracy will be applied in the sortition system, described below and in petitions. No referenda will be carried out, since they will be substituted by Sortition Assemblies. Petitions will allow any group of citizens to challenge any law approved by the parliament at any time, and even propose modifications of the EF Constitution. For other matters, national or local Sortition Assembly would be called with a detailed explanation of pros and cons on a given matter, since matters at a local level are much better understood where the decision is to be applied.
I will now propose in detail how the EF electoral systems might work in practice.
Proportional representation will be applied for the EF President, the election of the candidates to the Citizens Chamber, Representatives Chamber in the Senate and in local elections according to the following principles:
- The EF electoral system is a multiparty system
- Casting of votes will be carried out using mainly digital voting (Internet-based or using a terminal at a polling station), although postal voting will be allowed in exceptional circumstances.
- They will be supervised by an EF Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
- Every eligible voter will have to register an email address with the IEC, which will have its own domain, specifically created for elections, e.g. www.voting.el.eu. Thus Joe Blogs email address, which can only be used for electoral purposes, might be: email@example.com
- All seats to the Parliament, or to a local council, will be contested in a one-mandate constituencies (districts) to preserve the closest link possible between the voter and their representative
- There will be strict rules for carrying out election campaign, including the amount of donations allowed, time on state media etc.
- To become a candidate to the Parliament or to a local council, the only requirement will be to get a sufficient no. of supporting signatures, e.g. 1% of eligible votes. The signatures will be collected via email only through the IEC website. A voter will be able to support only one candidate, which will be automatically controlled by the IEC website
- The election will be carried out in two rounds. In the first round, First Past the Post system will be used, when candidates will be scored according to the percentage of the votes received. If one of the candidates receives 50% plus 1 vote, he is the winner and there is no need for the second round. If none of the candidates scores more than 50% votes then the second round of voting is carried out in two weeks’ time
- The candidates who scored more than 20% +1 of the votes in the first round go through to the second round. Therefore, in theory, up to 4 candidates may compete in the second round. That should enable smaller parties, minorities and individual MPs to represent their voters in the federal or local law-making bodies. The voting in the second round will use the Alternative Vote (AV) system, also called a preferential plurality/majority system. Under this system, the voters rank the candidates in the order of their choice, by marking a ‘1’ for their favourite, ‘2’ for their second choice, etc. A candidate who receives an absolute majority (50 per cent plus 1) of valid first preference votes is declared elected. If no candidate achieves an absolute majority of first preferences, the least successful candidates are eliminated and their votes reallocated according to the second preferences made by the voters, until one candidate has an absolute majority
- Candidates to the Parliament and to local councils must be over 21 and be the citizens of the member states of the EF
- The voting age will be 13 and over, however the voters aged between 13 and 18 will only be allowed to vote at the polling stations because of the system of voting described below
- There will be a system of weighted voting, where the weight of the vote will depend on the voter’s knowledge of the matters related to the country’s governance
- The IEC, apart from overseeing the election campaign and the voting process itself, will also be responsible for the preparation and approval of 1,000 questions on matters related to the organization of the state, running the government, external affairs etc. The questions will be widely publicized on the Internet, at schools, in newspapers and other media, so everyone will be able to prepare himself for the voting, while at the same time increasing his knowledge about how the country is governed
- Each party in the parliament will have the right to prepare a proportion of the questions, or scrutinize the already prepared questions. That proportion will equal the percentage of the party’s mandates in the parliament. For each question there will be five possible answers
- Each single vote will count as 10 points. Every adult will have an option of voting using the Internet and getting 2 points, without being asked any question. The same will apply to postal voting, where votes would be allocated 2 points by default. If a voter wants to get more points, he will have to vote at the polling station and answer 10 questions at a terminal there. If he answers correctly 8 or more questions, he will get 8 points, which when added to his statutory 2 points, will make his vote count at a full value of 10 points. Teenagers aged 13 to 18 will be able to vote only at the polling station by answering the questions at the terminal. Their vote will be scored in the same way as for adults.
The underlying reason behind the weighted voting is two-fold. The first one is to give those that have some knowledge and interest in the matters of the state, some extra weight in their electoral decision making by providing more facts in a consolidated and contextual form. That will reduce the impact of fake news and populists slogans and thus lead to more rational voting decisions. The second one is to get the voters not only more interested in the very process of voting in elections but also gradually turning them into more engaged citizens. The vote weighting would not discriminate against any voter in any way, since everyone would have the same chance to get one full vote. It is the same as with general sense of equality. Everyone must have the same opportunities at birth given extra support by the state, when needed. How he uses this opportunity is entirely up to him. It is the same with the weighted voting system. Everyone has some support (he gets 2 electoral points) so that he can influence the outcome of the election in some way. However, it is entirely up to him how he uses the opportunity to increase that influence.
- The voters will have access to a political questionnaire, vetted by the IEC, either at the Commission’s website or at special terminals at the polling station. The voter will be asked about his preferences, the issues he would like to have resolved and his needs, but also about the importance of those issues. On that basis, the application will use the answers given in the questionnaire, to identify the party, which has the closest affinity with the voter’s wishes and expectations. He will of course not have to vote for that party, emotions play a significant role during elections, so it will be up to the voter, which candidate, or party he will finally vote for
- MPs accountability is given a high priority with an automatic recall in certain cases. MPs could be recalled in these cases:
- If the Parliamentary Committee on Standards has proven MPs misconduct and the motion to recall him was approved by a vote in the parliament
- If an MP crossed the party lines, he would have to resign his mandate by default
- If 15% of his constituents requested his recall, using the IEC website, presenting a reason for such a recall, which would then be subsequently approved by the Parliamentary Committee on Standards that it was correct on merit, the MP would have to resign and offer himself for re-election, if he wanted.
- Electoral systems within the EF nations can vary, as long as the EF Constitutional Court accepts them as ‘democratic’ voting systems.
Elections to the Sortition Chamber of the Senate, which will include 50% of Senators, will be conducted using sortition. The sortition mandates will of course come from selection and not election, and since they would run for 6-years, they would overlap the terms of the Parliament. Therefore, in a five-year parliament only the mandates won through the Proportional Representation and the Two Rounds Systems will be available for election. The sortition members will continue to be members of the Senate, until their mandate elapses after six years and new sortition members will replace them. The same system as for the EF Parliament could of course also be used for the member states’ Parliaments. This is how I propose to carry out the allocation of mandates to the EF Senate using sortition.
- Each member state will divide the country into electoral districts consisting of approximately 2 million voters, which will be adjusted, once new countries join the EF
- Each district will have 2 seats in the EF Senate. A representative for one seat will be elected through proportional representation Two Rounds System. The other, will be selected through a sortition system
- The whole process of sortition will be carried out and supervised by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) present in each EF member state
- Candidates for sortition members must be over 21 and are randomly selected from the electoral register
- The candidates must have a minimum secondary school level education. (There could also be a more complex option of selecting sortition members, but perhaps more beneficial for the society. This would also select Sortition members at random but with no initial pre-screening for secondary school education. Instead, the first 30% of the sortition members will be selected with no criteria, other than age, the next 30% will have secondary school education, the following lot of 30% will only include university graduates, and the final 10% would include university graduates but with additional screening for technology specialists, scientists, lawyers, voluntary sector etc.)
- Once they pass these criteria, they will remain on the register of a stand-by pool of 20 candidates for sortition members
- The candidates selected to become a sortition member, will have the right to decline the offer to join the sortition team. (That’s a departure from the Anglo- Saxon Jury service, where a person called randomly to serve on the Jury must perform his duty)
- If they agree to become sortition members, they will have their leave from work legally, if they are actually selected to serve as Senators, protected (i.e. they can return back to work on at least the same terms as before) and IEC will help them get back to work at no extra cost to them. They will have a legal duty to provide all the information on their education and skills they have. They would also have to sign the Official Secrets Act and other documents that MPs normally sign. They will have to swear under oath that they agree to represent their constituents honestly, without prejudice, maintaining secrecy of the debates, if required, or other state secrets, under the same penalties as for government officials
- The sortition candidates in the stand-by pool will have to undergo training and coaching courses, including English, learning how the EF government works and what are the rights and obligations of being a Senator. They will be paid some money of being a candidate for Senator in the stand-by pool
- The Sortition period of service in the senate is 6 years. In the first year, a sortition Senator will not be eligible to vote. Instead, he will undergo intensive training and coaching, learning how the EF government works and his rights and obligations of being a Senator. They will also have English tuition, if necessary, since this is the official language of the EF. He will be sworn in the second year and serve for five years. protected (That means that in his first parliament term, which is 5 years, he will be a Senator for 1 year without the right to vote, and 4 years with voting rights, and then for 1 year with full voting rights in the second term on the parliament).
- The sortition members actually selected to serve a 6 year-period in the Senate will be paid the national public sector average salary for the first 1 year and the MPs salary for the next 5 years. All expenses will of course be covered. They will not be allowed to be employed anywhere else.
- In every district there will be a pool of 20 stand-by registered candidates. In the first year, only one of them will be randomly selected to serve as a Senator. After the first 5 years a new Sortition Candidate will be randomly selected from among the 20 sortition candidates. (The reason why a new sortition candidate is elected after the first 5 years, is that he will spent the first year in the Senate, being coached in Senator’s duties. If the new Senator took his seat after 6 years, then the Sortition Chamber will not have the voting Senators, since the new senators are not allowed to vote in the first year).From then on, every 6 years a new Senator will be randomly selected from among the pool of 20 stand-by sortition candidates. In case the sitting sortition Senator resigns for any reason, a new sortition member will be selected randomly from among the pool of 20 stand-by sortition candidates. Each time a sortition candidates’ pool number falls below 20, a new sortition candidate is randomly drawn from the electoral register. Therefore, the stand-by pool will always have 20 candidates
- In the Parliament there will be a Sortition Office responsible for all matters related to sortition members. That may cover their coaching or training needs or issues related to personal matters of sortition Senators. The Sortition Office will also handle the requests from the Sortition MPs for recalling one of their members for reasons of misconduct, non-participation in debates or nor voting.
- Since a sortition Senator will be accountable to nobody because he has been selected and not elected, the only way of removing ‘bad apples’ is by the sortition Senators themselves. The issue of sortition Senators to be recalled will at first be reviewed by a special Sortition Members Committee. If the Committee finds him guilty of misconduct or non-compliance, then the decision of his recall will become valid, if a qualified majority of sortition Senators votes for his recall. Should that happen, a new sortition Senator from the standby pool of sortition Senators from a given district will be sworn in, replacing the recalled Senators.
Depending on the European Union’s transition plans, the elections for the President could be carried out even before the EU has made a transition into the EF. That could happen within the next few years even without a new Constitution. That was the idea proposed by Jean Claude Juncker in February 2018. He suggested merging the position of the President of the EU Commission and the President of the European Council. The new President would just have two titles: the president of the EU Commission and the EU Council. If that happens, the conditions that would apply in the election of the future EF President should already be applied such as:
- To become a candidate for the President the candidate must be over the age of 35
- He must be a citizen of the EU/ EF
- He cannot represent any faith
- He will be elected on a pan-European basis by all citizens from all EU countries or EF.
- The candidate will have to collect signatures on the EU/EF website from at least 1% of the eligible votes from outside his native country. For example, if he was a German, he would have to collect signatures from all EU countries, apart from Germany
- The election will be carried out in a modified Two Rounds System. In the first round, the First Past the Post system will be used, when candidates will be scored according to the percentage of the votes received. If one of the candidates receives 50% plus 1 vote, he is the winner and there is no need for the second round. If none of the candidates scores more than 50% votes then the second round of voting is carried out in two weeks’ time.
- The candidates who scored more than 20% +1 of the votes in the first round go through to the second round. Therefore, in theory, up to 4 candidates may compete in the second round. The voting in the second round will use the Alternative Vote (proportional) system, described earlier
- His term will be for 5 years and he can serve a maximum of two terms.
This is an instrument of direct democracy. I would like to highlight the conditions that must be fulfilled and the process that must be followed for petitions to become a valid instrument of direct democracy. Petitions may serve several purposes:
- To propose new laws and changes in legislation, including constitutional changes
- To propose a recall of an MP
- To propose a Sortition Assembly (instead of a referendum)
To raise any petition, the petition organizers would have to present a clear case and publish it on the IEC website. They would need to collect signatures on the IEC website from 5% of the eligible voters in the EF as a whole, or if it is a petition regarding a local authority, 5% signatures from the voters of that local authority.
For an MP recall petition, the minimum number of signatures collected is 15% from the voters in the MPs constituency.
To propose a Sortition Assembly (instead of a referendum) on an EF wide basis, a minimum of 20% of signatures from the EF voters would have to be collected on the IEC website. Once the petition has reached the minimum no. of signatures, it will have to be scrutinized for its legality by the Parliamentary Committee on Standards. Should that be correct, the Parliament would have to approve it with a simple majority.