Democracy and participation, Civic education

Citizens’ Jury as new model for Direct Democracy shortlist

The CITIZENS’ JURY or MINI-Referendums is a new model for citizens’ participation in the decision making and a challenging example of Rotation democracy, when randomly selected citizens vote.


Who is behind this?


Social Foundation INDI ROMA 97


Who is joining forces?



Association MAGNA SILVA







Idea pitch

We aim to involve DIRECTLY the citizens in the decision-making level and to give a chance for EVERY woman and man to be heard. We shall give a chance for all, including those who feel excluded, because we’ll bypass the political parties and the electoral system using new Lottery Direct Democracy mechanism. Our new model of Direct Democracy give chance to EVERYBODY because our Citizens' Jury includes about 500 randomly selected citizens.It will be rotate (every 9 months)and is nice for EU level

Where will your project idea take place?

"Rodopis collar" (Bulgaria)-a rural area and really a “civic desert”. 4 municipalities, 55 k. inhab.

What is the local challenge?

Problems: Formal Democracy; Weakness of the civil society; apathy and diminishing interest in public affairs. Our region is multi-ethnical (for instance, in our Municipality of Kouklen there are 30% Turkish and 18% Roma minorities). Although the inter-minorities’ relations in the region are relatively good, we need more, especially if we speak about the attitudes to women and girls. But the main is lack of habits for civic and political activeness and engagements. One fact -there are not at all NGOs in all 5 municipalities ! (except ours, that is located in the Kouklen mun.) Our region, i.e. Northern Rodopis, is really a “civic desert”. There is no local media (except few web sites), the civic spirit is weak. We have to raise the civic participation and democratic culture at any cost!

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

The crisis of democracy in Bulgaria and the civic apathy among Bulgarians are scared. Many of them do not feel represented and feel deeply alienated from the institutions. Tthe turnouts are disgracefully little - less than 30% on the local elections. People are disappointed by democracy. And this is dangerous. We would like to give a chance for EVERY woman and man to take part in decision-making process. But bypassing the political parties and the electoral system. We will involve DIRECTLY the citizens in the power. But not using the heavy, expensive mechanisms of the classical referendum. No. We will use a new form of participatory democracy, created in the Plovdiv University by the futurologists and sociologist N.Bliznakov (which first variant was successfully experienced before).

Who are you doing it for?

We aim to involve DIRECTLY the citizens and to give a chance for EVERY woman and man to be heard. We shall give a chance for all, including those who feel excluded, because we’ll bypass the political parties and the electoral system using new Lottery Direct Democracy mechanism. Our new model of Representative Democracy give chance to EVERYBODY because our Citizens Jury includes about 500 randomly selected citizens. Everybody literally will have the chance to be chosen. More: because the members of this “Citizens’ Chamber” will be rotate (every 9 months) most people will feel the taste of power in few years (if the model continues). And they will not only vote on main topics, but firstly will discuss and deliberate it. They. Common people of our “civic desert”. (O,insufficient space!..)

How do you plan to get there?

The Big Citizens’ Jury as an example of Rotation democracy will be launched. The Jury functions as a “second Chamber” of the Mun. Council and ensured public participation voting for few local issues. This Cit.Jury includes about 500 randomly selected citizens, that discuss, decide and vote on some important topics, while the actual City Council is also voting on the same problem. We have a final decision only if the votes of both coincide. The Jury will be changed every 9 months. This mechanism is more than 130 times chipper, than classical Referendum.
A web platform for continued discussions will start. At the end a Civic network, comprises some of 500 man from area will be established. Mayors of small towns and councilors will be gathered at the Round table at the end to collaborate.

What are the expected results?

The proposed activities will help to bring together people from local communities to foster actions, debate and reflection on real democracy. And the most important – paradoxically our Representative Simple articulates the interests of the whole community even better than the Community itself! It will encourage interaction between citizens and NGOs and will climax with the establishing of Regional Civic Network, comprises up to 500 activists from different villages. Bulgarians will learn lessons about the possible effectiveness of civil activities. Through the established system of effective citizens’ control even representatives of the authorities will be involved in partnership, citizens of the area are becoming more active and the “Civil Spirit” will be foster in the Bulgarian society.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Making the weakest of all European civil societies stronger (BG) makes the pan-European civil society also stronger. European citizens may also have more direct benefits form the implementation of the Project. The model of the unique mechanism of Rotation Democracy so called “Big Citizens’ Jury”, a variant of Direct democracy, could be used all over Europe, at local, national and even pan-EU levels. More, we are more ambitious – our Model would be the best one for the real Citizens’ participation because it is in accordance with the new tendencies in European Union, especially with the ideas about the „Conference on the Future of Europe” that aims to involve all citizens in order to improve the Democracy in EU. So we would like to offer it to the EU level with the support of CIVIC EUROPE.

What is your story?

Our region “Rodopis collar”-Northern Rodopis – is really a “civic desert”. There are not civic actions in all 4 municipalities, except ours; many people don’t believe in civic actions and democracy. We are motivated to give a chance for all, including those who feel excluded for civic and political learning and engagements, older people, Roma etc.. We will promote a democratic culture of living in diversity and in believing in civic activeness, engaging hundreds of common people in the real decision-making process. In this way we not only will decide important local issues by deliberative direct democratic means, but it will serve as a real “School for Democracy” for many common people. And after this they will be others – politically active citizens.

€ 44095,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 44100,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Web Platform (development, hosting, maintenance): - 4000 EUR
Project management and administration: 4000 EUR
Accountancy: 1100 EUR
hall rental/Caterings : - 2000 EUR
Sociological survey – 6500 EUR
Personnel: 19000 EUR
Travel and accommodation 1500 EUR
Materials for 500 members of C.CH.- 3000
Office expenses: -1000
communication and public relations- 2000 EUR

TOTAL: 44 100

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would greatly appreciate any advice and opinions on our idea. And WE ARE LOOKING FOR FUTURE PARTNERSHIPS IN THE FIELD OF DEMOCRACY AND CIVIC PARTICIPATION.



Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on Aug. 3, 2020

Write comment