Elections to the Citizens’ Chamber

Elections to the Citizens’ Chamber called the Senate, will be conducted using the sortition method. 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 Lower House 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’ Parliaments. This is how the allocation of the mandates to the EF Senate using sortition could be carried out.

Each member nation 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 1 seats in the EF Senate. The whole process of selecting a representative using the sortition method will be carried out and supervised by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) present in each EF member country. 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 a sortition member, they will have their leave from work legally protected, if they are actually selected to serve as Senators (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 1 year of the preparation period, when a candidate for the Senate will become a sortition Senator-elect, not eligible to vote yet. In that period, he will undergo intensive training and coaching, learning how the EF government works, and about his rights and obligations as a Senator. He will also have English tuition, if necessary, since this is the official language of the EF. Once he is confirmed as a senator (he can decline it at this stage) he will serve for one term of 6 years.

The sortition members actually selected to serve a 6 year-period in the Senate will be paid for teh entire period either the national public sector average salary, or their current salary/wage increased by inflation. 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 five of them will be randomly selected to serve as a Senator-elect. After that, one of them will be randomly selected as a Senator, and a new Senator elect will be selected from the 20 stand-by candidates. From then on, every 6 years a new Senator will be randomly selected from among the pool of 20 stand-by sortition candidates, 5 of whom will have the status of Senator-elect. In case the sitting sortition Senator resigns for any reason, a new sortition member will be selected randomly from among the pool of 5 stand-by Senator-elect 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 Senators for recalling one of their members for reasons of misconduct, non-participation in debates or not 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.

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