Re-intermediating the councillors? Towards new connections between representative and participatory democracy in local government
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Session 2: Political representation and legitimacy
This paper explores the consequences of two strands of institutional renewal in local government for the position of the councillors, namely (1) the introduction of forms of participatory democracy in combination with (2) certain reforms in the institutions of representative democracy, in particular the separation of administrative and scrutiny roles between the council and the executive, and the directly elected mayor. In two cities, Almere in the Netherlands and Lewisham in the United Kingdom, various examples of citizen involvement are examined. A strikingly different picture emerges. Whereas a clear trend towards a disintermediation of the councillors can be observed in Lewisham, the Almere Council is trying strategies that seem to further a re-intermediation of the council in the political linkage chain. Together, these cases indicate that the character of the intermediation between citizens and decision-makers in local governance is determined by the interplay between institutional conditions and actor strategies.
- almere council