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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: (i) inform themselves about the bills in clear language; (ii) enter indications and vote for the indications of other participants; and (iii) participate in consultations made by the National Congress or the commissions. To contribute to administrators, the platform is capable of generating reports through integrated tools (data mining, automatic summaries, main subject cluster, 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?
The way in which congresses work - and especially how laws are formulated and approved - is essential to build trust among citizens. But citizens do not always have the same power or access to participate in this process. Information and communication technologies give us an enormous opportunity to expand these traditional channels of legislative participation and to improve them qualitatively. Among other benefits, with participation, it will be possible to broaden the points of view regarding legislative decisions; improve the quality of decisions based on facts and data, make the decision-making process visible and respect equality by allowing all voices to be heard.
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.
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 National Congress of Chile and the IDB 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.