Rahvaalgatus.ee - yet another e-platform for citizen engagement?

Teele Pehk, the CEO of Estonian Cooperation Assembly, writes in the Open Government Partnership blog about the civic initiatives platform rahvaalgatus.ee, the statistics of the two-year operations and ongoing work on raising awareness and improving the impact of the collective addresses to the parliament of Estonia.

Read the article: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/stories/rahvaalgatusee-yet-another-e-platform-civic-engagement-no-process-of-democratic-renewal


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Rahvaalgatus.ee and Estonian People's Assembly - digital social innovations

Crowdsourcing policy, debating ideas and voting via Estonia's e-democracy platform

Source: digitalsocial.eu/case-study/23/rahvaalgatus 

Following the 2012 Silvergate Scandal, the major political parties in Estonia faced increased political distrust and disengagement in a country already affected by unpopular austerity measure. Under pressure from public protests and a petition signed by 17,500 people, the President held a series of roundtable discussions. These led to the development of Rahvakogu - ‘The People’s Assembly’.

Rahvakogu was split into a five stage process:

  1. gathering proposals (and comments on them) online;
  2. collation and analysis of proposals;
  3. impact assessment and expert opinion on proposed legislative changes;
  4. stakeholder deliberation events on five issues identified as priorities;
  5. deliberation days to select final proposals for submission to Parliament.

Rahvakogu used the open source Icelandic digital democracy platform template, Your Priorities, to enable a rapid roll-out. During the three-week period of crowdsourcing proposals, over 60,000 people visited the site, with 2,000 registered users. Over 2,000 proposals and 4,000 comments were made. Following the analysis and deliberative processes, 15 proposals were submitted to Parliament.

One of the laws which was passed as a result of this process has led to a new online digital democracy platform, launched in March 2016 by one of the facilitators of the People’s Assembly process, the Estonian Cooperation Assembly Foundation.

It was built in collaboration with Let’s Do It, the foundation which created the open-source software Citizen OS. Named rahvaalgatus.ee following a public naming contest, it facilitates the process of making proposals, debating and voting on them, as well as digital signing and the sharing of updates. Citizens require 1,000 signatures for their proposals to reach discussion by Parliamentary Committees.

Since its launch, eight initiatives on rahvaalgatus.ee have reached the 1,000 signature threshold and passed to Parliamentary Committees. New awareness raising campaigns have been launched, initially focusing on young adults, digitally engaged older people, and Russian speakers who are typically the least engaged with civil society and social issues in Estonia.

Much of this case study first appeared in Nesta's report, 'Digital Democracy: The Tools Transforming Political Engagement'. Read more here.



In what situation can the Committees of the Riigikogu reject the Address?

EST RUS


  • The Committee may decide to not thoroughly discuss the content of the Address and reject it if:

  - The content of the Address is coinciding with an Address that was proceeded within a two year period.
  - The Address is clearly not in accord with the principles of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia.
  • If the Committee decides to reject the Address the decision has to be explained to the contact person(s) marked on the Address.

How does the process that follows the submission of the Address look like in the Riigikogu?

EST RUS

  • The Board of the Riigikogu will inform the contact person(s) within 30 day period starting from the submission date whether the Address will be proceeded.
  • If the Riigikogu decides to proceed with the Address they will forward it to the relevant committees. This process can also be followed on www.rahvaalgatus.ee.
  • If the Address does not correspond to the necessary requirements The Board of the Riigikogu will return it to the contact person(s) and give an opportunity to make amendments.
  • The Board of the Riigikogu will inform the contact person(s) about not proceeding with the Address and identifies the reasons for the decision.

What are the requirements?

EST RUS

A Collective Address is a proposal submitted to the Riigikogu as a community initiative that makes a suggestion for changing a present regulation or organising the society better. The implementation of the proposal has to be in the jurisdiction of the Riigikogu.
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Invite the Citizen Initiative Portal to visit you!

EST RUS

The publication of the Citizen Initiative Portal has been recognised as the greatest achievement of the Open Governance Partnership Action Plan for 2014-2016 in the field of open policy-making. To date, we have sent over 7,000 digital signatures to the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu).

The time has come to move forward and further develop the collective petitioning right. This is required in order to populate the created environment with initiatives that will make our lives better!

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