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Technology and Parliaments: using ICT is vital for emerging democracies

An analysis of the Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy (OPPD)

The use of technology makes institutions stronger and guarantees that parliaments have the function of implementing democratic principles, respect for the law and human rights.

These are some of the characteristics that make ICT of vital importance for parliaments all over the world, above all related to emerging democracies.

This is what is emphasized in a recent analysis disseminated by the Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy (OPPD), the organ instituted by the European Union for supporting the creation and reform of the Parliaments of those emerging democracies that lie beyond EU borders.

The document that illustrates the guidelines for planning the development the development of ICT systems in political assemblies, emphasizes how globalization has reduced the isolation of single countries, encouraging them to connect themselves to a global network having legislative organs that endeavour to find common solutions to world political questions.

In this context, as parliaments are the direct representative of the people, they are called upon to assume responsibility becoming more and more important and to meet the new requirements imposed by digital transformation.

Without the use of ICT tools, in fact, today, Parliaments are not able to guarantee an effective functioning of the control of legislative processes, limiting their ability to protest citizens and safeguarding their rights.

In what way can Parliaments exploit technology in order to reach their goals?

During the last few years, parliaments have started to realise how much ICT is important for reaching their goals, above all, in those fields where political assemblies continue playing a key role, among which:

  1. Legislative function. ICT tools such as open data, videoassembly and electronic voting makes legislative activities more effective, rapid and transparent . Not only in disseminating information but also in managing documents and audiovisual material that is useful in providing an overall description of legislative actions.
  2. Supervision and control function. Parliamentary supervision or control of the executive are essential in a democratic system to guarantee that political programs are actually carried out in compliance with the laws chosen by the legislator. Today this function has been accelerated and simplified thanks to tools such as videorecording, that record acts and sessions and the availability of an easy-to-consult database online.
  3. Representative function. The participation of citizens today is becoming more and more active thanks to the availability of a large number of communication channels: ranging from the social to websites that provide information and access to parliamentary documents and technologies such as streaming video to record and broadcast plenary sessions in real time.

New technologies thus offer fundamental instruments for the institution of parliamentary assemblies that are strong and independent, able to perform successfully their own role as Constitutional State promoters thus obtaining undeniable advantages:

  • Reduce abuse of power
  • Ensure respect of citizens rights, promoting dialogue and understanding of national problems
  • Creating faith in parliaments to aid and oppose public mistrust regarding institutions

Aware of the key role played in political assemblies Eurel Informatca S.p.a., continues along the path of innovation, as can be seen in the OPPD,report, so that parliaments may be "more effective in their operations, transparent in their actions and strong in their relationships with their citizens".

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