Enabling eParticipation of the Youth in the Public Debate on Legislation in Austria: A Critical Reflection

  • Sabrina Scherer
  • Christoph Neuroth
  • Günther Schefbeck
  • Maria A. Wimmer
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5694)


Legislation formation is an area of democracy, in which participation of target groups (citizens, companies, interest groups, experts) plays a crucial role. With the emergence of the Internet and the growing maturity of more recent technologies a new potential emerged for supporting participation in the legislation process. The use of ICT does, however, not automatically enhance the participation in democratic processes and may even impose new [technically based] barriers. Therefore, software development of legislative eParticipation applications should carefully investigate and bear in mind the specific targeted users. It is not feasible to just provide the necessary ICT and the legislative documents in order to start a consultation, especially with young citizens. When introducing not only a new tool but even a new procedure, the whole process needs to be planned in detail and accompanied by an expert team. In this respect, the paper at hand describes the implementation of a pilot within the LEX-IS project that aimed to facilitate and enable participation of the youth in the public debate on legislation in Austria. The subject of online discussion via the platform was a ministerial draft bill and the formulation of a comment statement based on the previous discussions to be uploaded on the Austrian Parliament’s platform. The paper introduces the evaluation methodology and the results of the pilot regarding the use of the argumentation support system, participation of the youth and potential impact on the Austrian legislature. Finally, concluding remarks are provided.


eParticipation legislative debate eConsultation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Loukis, E., Wimmer, M.A., Charalabidis, Y., Triantafillou, A., Gatautis, R.: Argumentation Systems and Ontologies for Enhancing Public Participation in the Legislation Process. In Grönlund, A., J.Scholl, H., Wimmer, M.A., eds.: Electronic Government. Proceedings of ongoing research, projects and workshop contributions. Volume Informatik 24., Linz, Trauner (9 2007) 19 – 28 Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Loukis, E., Wimmer, M.A., Triantafillou, A., Charalabidis, Y., Gionis, G., Gatautis, R.: Development of Legislation through Electronic Support of Participation: LEX-IS. In: Cunningham, P., Cunningham, M. (eds.) Expanding the Knowledge Society: Issues, Applications, Case Studies. Number Part 1, October 2007, pp. 447–487. IOS Press, Amsterdam (2007)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kountourakis, G.: LEX-IS Forum Manual. Technical report, ATC (July 2008)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Livingstone, S., Bober, M., Helsper, E.: Active participation or just more information?: young people’s take up of opportunities to act and interact on the internet. LSE Research (2005),
  5. 5.
    Coleman, S., Gøtze, J.: Bowling Together: Online Public Engagement in Policy Deliberation. Report (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Macintosh, A., Coleman, S.: Promise and Problems of E-Democracy, Challenges of online citizen engagement. Technical report, OECD (2004)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Edelmann, N., Krimmer, R., Parycek, P.: Engaging youth through deliberative e-participation: a case study. International Journal of Electronic Governance 1(4), 385–399 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Krimmer, R., Makolm, J., Parycek, P., Steininger, S., Kripp, M.: Politik zum Mitmachen. Arbeitspapiere zu elektronischen Wahlen und Partizipation, Editor: Kompetenzzentrum für elektronische Wahlen und Partizipation, E-Voting.CC (2007)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Loukis, E., Xenakis, A.: A Framework for Evaluating eParticipation in the Legislation Development Process. In: Ferro, E., Scholl, H.J., Wimmer, M.A. (eds.) Electronic Government: Proceedings of ongoing research and projects of EGOV 2008. 7th International Conference, EGOV 2008, September 2008. Informatik, vol. 27, pp. 89–98. Trauner, Linz (2008)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Loukis, E., Xenakis, A., Triantafyllou, A., Koundourakis, G., Charalabidis, Y., Scherer, S., Neuroth, C., Wimmer, M.A., Schefbeck, G.: D3.2 System Evaluation Report. Deliverable, LEX-IS (2009)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Smith, E., Macintosh, A., Whyte, A.: Organised Use of eDemocracy Tools for Young People. In: Grönlund, A., Scholl, H.J., Andersen, K.V., Wimmer, M.A. (eds.) Electronic Government: Communication Proceedings of the Fifth International EGOV Conference 2006, Krakow, Poland, September 4-8, 2006. Schriftenreihe Informatik, vol. 18, pp. 260–267. Trauner Verlag, Linz (2006)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Coleman, S.: A Tale of Two Houses: the House of Commons, the Big Brother house and the people at home. Parliamentary Affairs 56(4), 733–758 (2003)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schefbeck, G.: E-Partizipation und vorparlamentarische Konsultation. In: Schweighofer, E., Geist, A., Heindl, G. (eds.) 10 Jahre IRIS: Bilanz und Ausblick. Tagungsband des 10. Internationalen Rechtsinformatik-Symposions IRIS 2007, Boorberg, Stuttgart, pp. 134–142 (2007)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Schefbeck, G.: Auf dem Weg zur E-Konsultation? Zur Praxis deliberativer Politik in Österreich. In: Prosser, A., Parycek, P. (eds.) Elektronische Demokratie in Österreich. Proceedings der EDem 2007, Wien. OCG, Wien, pp. 43–59 (2007)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Schefbeck, G.: E-Partizipation und elektronisches Begutachtungsverfahren. In: Bildungsprotokolle Band 15: 5. Klagenfurter Legistik-Gespräche 2007, Verwaltungsakademie, Klagenfurt, pp. 7–29 (2008)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bicking, M., Wimmer, M.A.: Deliverable 2.5: E-Participation Projects Evaluation Methodology. MOMENTUM Deliverable (2008)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabrina Scherer
    • 1
  • Christoph Neuroth
    • 1
  • Günther Schefbeck
    • 2
  • Maria A. Wimmer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Koblenz-LandauKoblenzGermany
  2. 2.Austrian Parliamentary AdministrationViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations