Citizens’ council for democracy

How can we strengthen our democracy? Asked that question, 160 randomly selected citizens from all over Germany gave a clear reply. After the four-day citizens’ council with numerous expert inputs and discussion groups, they recommended that our tried and tested parliamentary-representative democracy should be complemented with elements of citizen participation and direct democracy. They proposed that citizens’ councils should be embedded as a permanent institution in our political system. That would include setting up a specialist team for citizen participation and direct democracy on the model of Baden-Württemberg, the introduction of nationwide referenda, and a transparent lobby register.


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Project overview

  • Partner :nexus
  • Duration :since 2019
  • Keyfacts :6 regional conferences with 60 participants each – nationwide 
  • 160 randomly selected citizens in the citizens’ council 
  • ‘Day of Democracy’ with Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble

ifok and the citizens’ council

With the citizens’ council for democracy, ifok is looking after a model project for Germany. Together with our partner nexus, we have designed and organised the whole procedure: from the regional conferences to the citizens’ council and, finally, the ‘Day of Democracy’. We have provided moderation on stage and round the table, looked after the participants, actively integrated the world of politics and thus made sure that the results are compatible. We have thus created a format which is unique in terms of what has been done so far.

ifok services

Strategy consulting



Event management

Our successes

Compatibility guaranteed: members of parliament and members of all the factions in the Bundestag made contributions to the process. Bundestag president Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble accepted the recommendations and made them the subject of discussion in the Bundestag.

The format “citizens’ councils” has achieved a great deal of public awareness. There have been reports in many national media channels. The 15-minute 8 o’clock news programme Tagesschau devoted no less than two minutes to the project.

A major survey by an opinion research institute has confirmed that more participation opportunities for citizens are what people want.

Aerial Art for Democracy Day © Mehr Demokratie

Your contact person

Jacob Birkenhäger

Business Unit Manager | Deliberation, Open Government, Democracy

Phone+49 30 536077-45

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