What is Demoex?
Short for Democracy Experiment. An association for directdemocracy via Internet. We make it possible to be active in the local governments debates for anyone, but only members have the rights to vote and thereby influence our seat.
Demoex concept is to mix direct- and representative democracy. Our “arena” is this Internet site.
How does it work?
When Demoex get the summons to a new meeting we sort out the issues we are interested in. These issues are then debated before we finally send our ballots the day before the meeting. Our representatives in the local government votes like the majority of the members.
Demoex started off as a grass-root initiative. It all begun at Vallentuna upper secondary school October 3rd 2000. Our municipality organized a theme day on “IT and democracy” and the question why so few young persons are politically active emerged.
Some students answered that they did not approve to choosing between ideologies. They expressed that their point of views were impossible to place on a political right-left scale. Other students were pessimistic about the aspects of political influence. “Decisions are made from above” they argued. Others answered they had no time to involve in politics. Others again thought of politics boring, tiering and insignificant.
After an internet debate an oral discussion with local politicians followed. The evaluation showed that students appreciated the speed and the structure offered by the electronic debate-system but they felt run over by the traditional oral debate.
From this experience a handful of students discussed with their philosophy teacher possibilities of developing democracy. That was how the Demoex idea was born. We decided to register a party and candidate for the local government in September 2002 with only one promise: Direct Democracy.
In January 2002 we started to work on the project. Soon after we contacted Mikael Nordfors, a pioneer within e-democracy in Sweden. Already in the early 1990’s Mikael founded a party with a similar ideology. Mikael offered us to use the software he had implemented through his company Vivarto.
We made this site, and in the summer of -02 we spread a leaflet in the local postboxes. Vi made Demoex t-shirts and borrowed a housevan as base for our electoral campaign. A certain interest from the media gave us some attention. Though the advertising campaign was small and cheap, it was enough to win the first DD mandatory in Europe.
In November 4th 2002 Parisa Molagholi made her entrance in the local government as Demoex representative. At the first meeting she argued against the proposal to raise the politician fee so effectively that she was met by a spontaneous applause. The proposal went back and Demoex made a magnificent debut.
In the autumn 2003 Demoex had an offer from the company Membro: Three months free evaluation of their democracy forum Ed. After the tryout period we decided to use Ed during 2004.
Demoex was re-elected in 2006. We raised from 1,7 to 2,6 percent, but we didn´t take any more mandatory. After the election we started to build this “open scource” site in Drupal. The aim was to spread the concept by making an own system, cheap and stable, easy to copy. Since january 2008 we have been using it with confidence.
More about Demoex is to be read in the blog A failure.