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What is it?
Virtual Congress is a web platform for digital participation that facilitates different types of interaction with citizens in relation to public debate and the drafting of laws.
The Virtual Congress platform has functionalities that allow users to inform themselves about bills in plain language; enter directions and vote for directions from other participants; and participate in consultations made by the National Congress or the commissions. To provide administrators, the platform is capable of generating reports through integrated tools (data mining, automatic summaries, cluster of main subjects, etc.) that facilitate the visualization of citizen participation. The most voted comments are integrated into the summary that the commission will receive.
Why was it created?
This work was carried out within the framework of the Regional Technical Cooperation RG-T3079 from the development of the “Virtual Senator” platform prepared by the National Senate of the Republic of Chile, who is grateful for their contribution.
Currently, more than 130 thousand users of Chilean citizens participate, registering their votes (in favor, against or abstention from the general and particular ideas of the project) and positions regarding various bills.
According to a study by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), citizens perceive that the Legislative Branch does not represent or promote their interests and demands, that citizens have no participation in the legislative process and that private interests are promoted of the elites in the National Congress. Therefore, the Virtual Congress is expected to decrease the perception that there is a gap between citizens and their representatives; that fosters citizen participation, especially regional; and that it contributes to increasing the level of legitimacy and confidence in the Legislative Branch by strengthening democracy.
What are the opportunities for improvement and / or reuse of the tool?
The Virtual Congress was held in open source to make it adaptable to any parliament, be it unicameral or bicameral.
It was developed in this way so that various legislative bodies can implement their Virtual Congress according to their requirements and characteristics. The platform's vision is that it be beneficial to support and strengthen citizen participation and improve the drafting of better laws through the collective intelligence of the legislation.
The Chilean National Congress is available to support the implementation of the Virtual Congress in other countries. It is expected to be able to collaborate and improve the platform among all.