Rahvaalgatus.ee - Inspiration
Rahvaalgatus.ee, created by the Estonian Cooperation Assembly in 2016, is a digital communication channel between citizens, the Parliament (Riigikogu), and local governments. It allows people to conveniently exercise their right to submit collective appeals, thereby making political decision-making processes more transparent and fostering open dialogue.
Rahvaalgatus.ee serves as a gateway for Estonian citizens to participate in legislative processes. This globally recognized success story in e-democracy has increased people’s participation in state affairs even between elections and enhanced their collective skills in making proposals. Over the past five years, the portal has transformed from emerging out of a political crisis into Estonia’s flagship for e-democracy, promoter of open governance, enabler of local-level democracy, and a model of public sector innovation throughout Europe.
Submission of Collective Appeals to the Parliament
In 2014, an amendment was passed in the Riigikogu, obliging the parliament to consider and discuss appeals with at least 1,000 supporting signatures in the parliamentary committees. Since 2016, the digital infrastructure created by the Estonian Cooperation Assembly has allowed people to conveniently exercise their right to submit collective appeals, thereby enhancing the transparency of the Parliament’s work and fostering open dialogue.
Submission of Collective Appeals to Local Governments
Since August 2020, it has been possible to initiate discussions and submit collective appeals to local governments through the website kohalik.rahvaalgatus.ee. This is a citizen’s right granted by law, and the simple implementation of this right encourages residents of municipalities and cities to actively participate in discussions and and decision-making processes. According to the law, locals can submit an appeal to the municipal or city council, which has been signed by at least 1% of the municipality’s residents.
European Citizens’ Initiative
The democracy expert of the Estonian Cooperation Assembly serves as the representative of the European Citizens’ Initiative in Estonia. The representatives come from various organizations across Europe operating at regional, national, or European levels, all with the common goal of encouraging citizen participation in politics. Their role is to disseminate information about the European Citizens’ Initiative, promote discussions, and encourage citizens to take active action on issues that matter to them.