Hungary’s ‘Internet Democracy’ party takes on Web

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Hungary has seen the launch of a brand new party on the premise that it will use the Web to bring more direct democracy to the European political arena. EURACTIV.hu reports.

The party, dubbed the ‘Party of Internet Democracy’ (IDE), has received a lot of attention by offering online democracy as a basic means of representation. 

The IDE’s founder and leader Attila Bognár stressed that the newly-formed party would focus on the Hungarian general elections. But experts said the European elections would offer the party a great opportunity to “test their system”. 

As its name and slogan indicates, the party and its founders are closely linked to the Internet. 

The party’s website will allow voters to debate issues discussed in the European Parliament online. The results of these discussions would then be reflected by the party’s MEPs in Brussels. 

Bognár told EURACTIV.hu in an interview that the mechanism was similar to Swiss democracy’s system of constant referenda.

Another IDE plan sees unsuspecting readers coming across a strange announcement on the party’s homepage: “You can be our MEP too! This is not a joke or a mistake, it is reality.” 

The party is aiming to win one seat in the EU assembly in the June poll, but if victorious, would offer it to sixty representatives by replacing its members on a monthly basis. Indeed, there are no European laws prohibiting such “rotating representation”. IDE is seeking enough candidates willing to get involved with the initiative and come to Brussels. 

Bognár said people may question IDE MEPs’ competence, the referenda system or even the party as a whole, but urged voters to recognise that the novelty was in the idea itself, rather than to focus too much on the details. 

Indeed, many legal issues remain unresolved, including the functioning of the vote and registration of supporters, the party leader conceded. But the party is still in its infancy, he said. 

IDE is planning to hire experts to resolve issues which require specific skills, like developing software to provide a referendum mechanism and presenting to people their views on the functioning of democracy. 

The new party has already begun to attract supporters, while Hungary’s electoral committee has added the party to a list of parties that could potentially be given the green light to take part in the EU elections, should they collect 20,000 signatures from voters. 

The future of the party looks set to depend on Hungarians themselves and their willingness to get involved.

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