Citizens' Assemblies

Many democracies around the world have been plagued by various disturbing developments. Some of the most prominent are an increased political and societal polarisation, decreasing trust of citizens in the institutions of representative democracy and democracy as the form of the government itself, as well as decreasing voter turnout. Therefore, to ensure their longevity, democracies must reinvigorate themselves. We believe that the democratisation of democracy and a more comprehensive and frequent involvement of the citizens in the will-formation and decision-making processes by means of citizens’ assemblies could be a part of the solution. This innovative participation form offers the potential

  • to strengthen citizens’ relationship with the democratic system and thus their trust in institutions;
  • to reinforce the feeling of emancipation and thus work to counter political disenchantment, while generating new output variants and thus a new democratic legitimacy;
  • to counteract mounting political and social polarisation by addressing controversial and polarising issues.

Find out more in our study below, co-written by Prof. Wolfgang Merkel, Prof. Andreas Schäfer and Dr. Filip Milačić. Available both in English and German.


Citizens' assemblies

Merkel, Wolfgang; Milačić, Filip; Schäfer, Andreas

Citizens' assemblies

New ways to democratize democracy
Vienna, 2021

Download publication (400 KB, PDF-File)



Merkel, Wolfgang; Milačić, Filip; Schäfer, Andreas


Neue Wege zur Demokratisierung der Demokratie
Vienna, 2021

Download publication (420 KB, PDF-File)

News and Activities around Citizens' Assemblies


Citizens' Assemblies: An Effective Way to Democratise Democracy

Rijeka's Citizens' Assembly • Filip Milačić

The City of Rijeka implemented the concept of a Citizens' Assembly. Senior Researcher for Democracy and Society Filip Milačić assisted in the planning and the execution of the format.

Read more about how Citizens' Assemblies can be an effective way to democratize democracy here.

Picture Credit: © Smiljana Radović Lagator