The "Forum Covid-19" Citizens' Assembly brings together 50 randomly selected people in Saxony to discuss their experiences with the pandemic and the government's response. The citizens' assembly will develop its recommendations for policymakers in several meetings between now and spring 2022. The IASS and the nexus Institute are conducting an accompanying evaluation of the Corona Forum.
The coronavirus pandemic has altered societies and everyday life all over the world and in Saxony too. When it comes to the handling of this crisis, there is much to be said and plenty of room for improvement. Parallel to similar assemblies convened Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia and various municipalities, the Saxon State Ministry of Justice and for Democracy, European Affairs and Gender Equality established the citizens' assembly Forum Covid-19 in July 2021. The assembly will examine four fields of action: Economy, health, education, and politics.
Counteracting the division of society
A special feature of this assembly is that it is not simply designed as a citizens' assembly comprised of randomly selected citizens and tasked with developing recommendations for the state government; it also has the explicit aim of counteracting the social divisions that have emerged in the context of the unfolding pandemic and the growth of anti-democratic sentiment in the state. This makes it a pilot project for the future design of participation processes in Saxony. Together with the nexus Institute, the IASS is conducting an accompanying evaluation of the Forum Covid-19 citizens' assembly. This work will track the progress made by the citizens' assembly towards the key objectives formulated by the state government: legitimate selection of participants, successful involvement in political processes, high quality of discussions and moderation (with particular regard to the digital format), broader acceptance of policy measures, and strengthening trust in politics. In addition to this, the insights gained through this research will inform the further use of citizen participation formats in the Free State of Saxony. The dual function of this citizens' assembly will be considered throughout the evaluation.