David Van Reybrouck interviewed on BNR Newsradio

Submitted by webmaster on Sat, 23-03-2019 - 18:59

On Friday morning 10 AM, March 22nd, David Van Reybrouck, the Belgian writer of Against Elections, was interviewed for a full hour on the national commercial Dutch business news radio station, BNR. Two days earlier, the right wing, so called populist political party Forum for Democracy, gained a landslide victory becoming the Netherlands' biggest party in the provinces, which in turn elect the Senate. This makes the fragile coalition government, already consisting of four parties, lose their majority in the Senate. In the interview, Van Reybrouck warns: "Do not label these populist voters in the same negative way their leaders are being labeled. Citizens with vastly different opinions can get along reasonably well in real life and can do a good job making political decisions together."

Next, Van Reybrouck tells about how the new sortition-based East Belgian 'senate' came about. The president of the 'smallest state [as in part of a federation] in Europe' asked Van Reybrouck: "Does a chamber drafted by lot already exist anywhere in the world?" Van Reybrouck replied: "No, it doesn't exist anywhere yet. You can make history!" To which the president replied: "Well, then let's go ahead and do this!" Thus the experts started to piece together the new ingenious sortition based system for Ostbelgien. The only reason the sortition based chamber will not have legislative power, is that this would have required a constitutional change. Van Reybrouck estimates that in this new system, a whopping 80 percent of German speaking Belgian citizens will be drafted by lot during their lifetime.

Further along in the interview, Van Reybrouck reveals that two important opponents in the Dutch House of Representatives, party leaders Mr. Klaver (Green Party) and Mr. Baudet (Forum for Democracy), both have shown themselves sympathetic to the idea of a sortition-based Senate.

Van Reybrouck further reports that he devotes almost all of his spare time to the introduction of sortition. "It's sort of a hobby that has gotten out of hand." Last september, Van Reybrouck even spoke with the French president Macron during a state lunch. Macron immediately appeared to be enthusiastic about what Van Reybrouck told him about sortition, feverishly taking notes. Van Reybrouck tells he has reason to believe that the French are planning on introducing some kind of sortition-based addition to their political system. One more thing that gives Van Reybrouck hope for the future? "Young politicians do not cling to power as much as previously, and are more open to change."