democracy

ERS Cymru call for votes at 16 and e-voting pilots with launch of democracy manifesto

18th February 2016
18 Feb 2016
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ERS Cymru
ERS Wales
wales
Cymru
democracy
manifesto

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***Neges Ddwyieithog: Scroliwch Lawr am y Gymraeg // Bilingual Message: Scroll down for Welsh***

ERS Cymru call for votes at 16 and e-voting pilots with launch of democracy manifesto     

Campaigners are calling on parties to get behind votes at 16, a monthly ‘Citizens’ Question Time’ and online voting trials in the Assembly in the run up to May’s election.

Electoral Reform Society Cymru are laying down a challenge for parties to get behind proposals for ‘revitalising democracy in Wales’, with the launch of ‘Breathing New Life into Politics’ [1], the first of three manifestos being published by the campaign group ahead of May’s Assembly elections [2].

The 19 policy recommendations in the democratic reform manifesto include piloting a ‘Citizens’ Committee’ in the Senedd to scrutinise Ministers, introducing Proportional Representation for local elections, and making it possible to vote anywhere in Wales – all of which will be possible under the new Wales Act.

The Society are calling on parties to kick-start a ‘democratic revival’ in Wales as the election race heats up, with parties planning their manifestos in the run up to May.

Read the report here in Welsh and English

Steve Brooks, Director of ERS Cymru, said:

“As the Assembly gains new powers over elections, there’s a real opportunity for parties and the next government to revitalise Welsh democracy, and this manifesto lays out the way forward.

“With innovative reforms like votes at 16, a monthly Citizens’ Question Time and online voting trials, we can make the next Assembly more engaging and participatory than it has ever been. 

“We hope all parties embrace the recommendations as crucial moves to change the way we do politics in Wales for the better. We’ve laid down the challenge – now’s the chance to embrace this opportunity to make Wales a world-leader in democratic reform.

“Over the last two decades the shape of Welsh politics has changed enormously. We now live in an era of multi-party politics. But our institutions are under growing strain, while voters in Wales feel increasingly disconnected from politics. It’s time to bring democracy closer to the people.

“Wales will soon have the power to do so – and we hope parties use those powers for the good of voters.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, comment piece or coverage in advance, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Cymru Communications Officer - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630

Notes

[1] Read the embargoed report, Breathing New Life Into Politics, here (bilingual)

[2] The next two policy-themed mini-manifestos will be launched in March and April, on diversity/accessibility and open government/transparency. Contact Josiah Mortimer (details above) to discuss further.


 

ERS Cymru yn galw am bleidlais yn 16 oed ac e-bleidleisio gyda lansiad maniffesto ddemocratiaeth

Mae ymgyrchwyr yn galw ar y pleidiau gwleidyddol i gefnogi pleidlais yn 16 oed, pleidleisio ar-lein ac yn ‘Hawl i Holi Dinasyddion’ misol yn y Cynulliad yn y cyfnod cyn etholiad y Cynulliad ym mis Mai.

Mae Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru wedi gosod her i bleidiau I gefnogi cynigion I 'adfywio democratiaeth yng Nghymru', gyda lansiad 'Adnewyddu ein Gwleidyddiaeth', y cyntaf o dri [1] maniffesto sy'n cael eu cyhoeddi gan y grŵp ymgyrchu cyn etholiadau'r Cynulliad ym mis Mai.

Mae'r 19 argymhelliad yn y maniffesto dros ddiwygio democrataidd yn cynnwys treialu 'Pwyllgor o Ddinasyddion’ yn y Senedd i graffu ar Weinidogion, cyflwyno cynrychiolaeth gyfrannol ar gyfer etholiadau lleol, a gwneud hi’n bosibl i bleidleisio yn unrhyw le yng Nghymru - bydd pob un ohonynt yn bosibl o dan y Ddeddf Cymru newydd.

Mae'r Gymdeithas yn galw ar bleidiau annog 'adfywiad democrataidd' yng Nghymru wrth i'r ras etholiad boethi, gyda pleidiau yn cynllunio eu maniffestos yn y cyfnod hyd at fis Mai.

Darllenwch yr adroddiad dan embargo yma

Dywedodd Steve Brooks, Cyfarwyddwr ERS Cymru:

"Wrth i'r Cynulliad yn ennill pwerau newydd dros etholiadau, mae cyfle go iawn i bleidiau a'r llywodraeth nesaf i adfywio democratiaeth Cymru, a mae’r maniffesto yma yn dangos y ffordd ymlaen.

"Gyda diwygiadau arloesol fel pleidleisiau yn 16 oed, Hawl I Holi misol i Ddinasyddion a phleidleisio ar-lein, gallwn wneud y Cynulliad nesaf yn fwy deniadol a chyfranogol nag a fu erioed.

"Rydym yn gobeithio I bob plaid groesawu’r argymhellion fel symudiadau hanfodol i newid y ffordd yr ydym yn gwneud gwleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru er gwell. Rydym wedi gosod yr her - nawr yw'r cyfle i achub ar y cyfle hwn i wneud Cymru yn arweinydd byd o ran diwygio democrataidd.

"Dros y ddau ddegawd diwethaf mae siâp gwleidyddiaeth Cymru wedi newid yn aruthrol. Rydym bellach yn byw mewn cyfnod o wleidyddiaeth aml-blaid. Ond mae ein sefydliadau o dan straen, tra bod pleidleiswyr yng Nghymru yn teimlo'n fwyfwy wedi datgysylltu o wleidyddiaeth. Mae'n amser i ddod â democratiaeth yn agosach at y bobl.

"Cyn hir bydd gan y Cynulliad y pŵer i wneud hynny - ac rydym yn gobeithio I’r pleidiau ddefnyddio'r pwerau hynny er lles pleidleiswyr yma yng Nghymru."

Am fwy o wybodaeth neu i drefnu cyfweliad, sylwadau darn neu sylw ymlaen llaw, cysylltwch â Josiah Mortimer, Cymru Swyddog Cyfathrebu ERS - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630

Nodiadau

Darllenwch yr adroddiad dan embargo yma

Bydd themau y ddau mini-maniffestos nesaf yn cael eu lawnsio yn Mawrth ac Ebrill, ar amrywiaeth / cydraddoldeb, ac ar  llywodraeth agored a thryloyw. Cysylltwch â Josiah Mortimer (manylion uchod) i drafod ymhellach.

Electoral Reform Society Cymru to launch Democracy Manifesto: ‘Breathing New Life in to Politics’

11th February 2016
11 Feb 2016
Tags: 
wales
ERS Wales
ERS Cymru
democracy
manifesto
Assembly elections

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Forward Planning Note: 

ERS Cymru  to publish key policy recommendations to parties for revitalising democracy in Wales, ahead of Assembly elections and forthcoming new powers

Release date: Thursday 18th February. 

Contact: Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630. www.electoral-reform.org.uk

 

Electoral Reform Society Cymru will launch its manifesto on democratic reform next Thursday (18th February), as part of the first of three manifestos [1] ahead of May’s Assembly elections.

The manifesto will call on all parties to get behind policies to improve democracy in Wales as they write their own manifestos.

The 19 key policy recommendations – on issues covering elections, getting young people active in democracy, and bringing power closer to the people - will draw on new powers over elections and the running of the Assembly and local councils coming to Wales, including the franchise age and the voting system used for local elections.

Distribution:

A full briefing/press release and embargoed digital version of the report will be sent out on Wednesday 17th at 10:00, embargoed for Thursday 18th, 00:01. Print copies will be available on request.

For more information or to arrange an interview, comment piece or coverage in advance, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Cymru Communications Officer - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630

Notes

The next two policy-themed mini-manifestos will be launched in Marched and April, on diversity/accessibility and open government/transparency. Contact Josiah Mortimer (details above) to discuss further. 

ERS SCOTLAND UNVEILS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A GOOD SCOTTISH DEMOCRACY

25th August 2013
25 Aug 2013
Tags: 
democracy
scotland
media
citizens' chamber
referendum

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The Electoral Reform Society Scotland has outlined a series of recommendations stemming from members of the public who participated in their 13-month Democracy Max inquiry.

These ideas are aimed at improving Scottish democracy in the context of the independence referendum. 

The key recommendations of Democracy Max are:

 

  • ‘Mini-Publics’ – deliberative local groups working alongside representative democracy and empowering people to run their own towns and villages
  • A Citizens’ Assembly – a chamber of citizens, possibly selected like a jury, to check and challenge elected politicians
  • Party funding reform – parties funded in transparent ways other than through big donations from organisations or rich individuals
  • Better media – as traditional business models struggle and press barons are exposed, our participants suggested ways for a greater number of voices to be heard and for media to operate more explicitly in the public interest
  • Openness and transparency – an assumption that information should be publicly available and a requirement to make the case as to why any information is not
  • Lobbying reform – a statutory register of lobbying which sets out who is lobbying whom and why
  • Constitutional clarity – a written set of principles for Scots to unite around, setting out who we are and by which rules we wish to be governed
  •  

    An inbuilt system to review and advise on how the Scottish Parliament and Government are faring in abiding by these principles

Scotland is mulling its political and constitutional future against a backdrop of growing distrust and disengagement in politics. In this context, the Electoral Reform Society Scotland has been asking the question: ‘What would make a good Scottish Democracy?’


The process began in July last year when the ERS Scotland brought together a cross-section of over 80 Scots from a range of places and backgrounds to a day-long ‘People’s Gathering’ and asked them what was wrong with politics and democracy and what could be made better. Over the last year they have taken the findings of that People’s Gathering and discussed them with experts, academics, campaigners, activists and others in roundtable sessions, each followed by a public meeting.

 

On Monday evening at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, ERS Scotland will launch its final report, ‘A vision of a good Scottish democracy’.  

 

Willie Sullivan, ERS Scotland Director, said:

 

“We believe that the Scottish independence referendum debate is an opportunity to challenge our political system to change, to confound the low expectations voters have of politics, and to deliver on the high hopes they still hold for democracy.

 

“We started from the position that politics is too important to be left to politicians. So we asked our People’s Gathering to tell us what they thought was wrong with democracy and what could be made better. But we didn’t just take them at their word. Instead we continued to discuss, question and delve in order to understand more fully what was not working and to make sure the solutions we suggested were credible and workable.

 

“It was clear from the investigation that formal politics is in trouble and, rightly or wrongly, people blame political parties for much of that. If trust is to be returned to politics some fundamental changes are required.

 

“I am delighted to say the participants in our investigation have suggested a number of thought-provoking ideas. Many of them are not new, but they do have a renewed relevance at this time. We have weighed up the pros and cons of each in our discussions and feel they deserve consideration as interventions to improve our democracy. We suspect some of them are more vital than others and so should be acted on quickly.

 

“There are some big ideas for political reform here, such as a Citizens’ Assembly as a second chamber of parliament, selected like a jury, and Mini-Publics where people can run their own communities. It may seem strange that an organisation that has campaigned for fairer elections for over 130 years is saying that we require more involvement of ordinary citizens rather than elected representatives in decision-making and scrutiny. However our belief in the importance of representative democracy has led us to realise that in a time of untrusted elites, social media and ‘big data’ we need to evolve our political system to keep pace with the 21st century. The involvement of people who are not primarily concerned with power or with winning elections means that representative democracy can be given a new legitimacy by having the right checks against the powerful. This is not an alternative to elections but a way to return legitimacy to elected representatives.”

ENDS

Contact:

Willie Sullivan willie.sullivan@electoral-reform.org.uk or 07940 523842

Juliet Swann juliet.swann@electoral-reform.org.uk or 07968 527561

Notes

The full report can be downloaded here

Democrats need to show resolve on Lords Reform

17th May 2011
17 May 2011
Tags: 
reform
democracy
second chamber
lords reform
house of lords
constitutional reform
elected lords

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Democrats need to show resolve on Lords Reform

Responding to the government’s announcement on House of Lords Reform Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:

We welcome this government’s first steps on reforming the Upper House, but we have been here before. Lords Reform will remain unfinished business until real determination exists to see it through.

“The last decade of debate has shown cross-party consensus is possible. Certainly all three main parties went into the last general election with manifesto pledges to reform the upper house. Now all democrats must be prepared to show their resolve.

“We can break the deadlock, but it will require concerted action from all parties to bring this Medieval Chamber up to date.”

ENDS