From November 16 to 19 in Donostía-San Sebastian, Spain, the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy took place, which has shared direct democratic trends globally and opened a forum for free direct democratic conversations by invigorating the participation of activists and citizens. The city has beautiful scenery of the Atlantic Ocean and high cultural standards. This city of the Basque region has long been plagued by civil war and terrorist attacks occurring between secession forces and the Spanish government. However, in 2016, the city
passed legislation to establish a special unit for peaceful coexistence and democratic development in both city councils and the administration, thereby pursuing a balance as well as harmony between the citizens' power and the government.
In the place where this direct democracy was achieved, the 2016 GFMDD was held under the theme of "Connecting Local Governments and Social Movements to People Power Around the World." Unlike the general forum, about 200 direct democratic activists from more than 30 countries had a free place and atmosphere while enjoying the city’s culture including city hall, cafes, and historic restaurants. They also actively participated in rich debates under the active support of local city government and the Parliament.
Prior to this, Bruno Kauffman, the founder and organizer of the GFMDD, took part in the International Forum for Communities 2016 and presented his experiences. Through this meeting, he met with Seoul civic activists including Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon who was once a civic activist and pledged mutual cooperation for the development of direct democracy.
Please go to the GFMDD homepage, where you can see Park Won-soon’s video message.
2016 GFMDD announced the Donostia Declaration on Modern Direct Democracy; “We want to make clear: our representative democracies need to become much more direct now, by allowing citizens to become authors of direct legislation, agenda-setters and decision-makers. Initiative and referendum rights must be incorporated in all political jurisdictions via rules that are decided by the people themselves and that do not impede their use by the citizens. Such rules must be well-designed and balanced to make our representative democracies truly representative“.