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Consensus democracy

Consensus democracy is the application of consensus decision making to the process of legislation. It is a narrow, but perhaps the most important, application of consensus decision making methods.

The term deliberative democracy is also often used to emphasize opportunities for deeper debate on issues of bodily importance to the community (bodies being the concern of politics as such). It is to be differentiated from consensus models since it focuses on discussions, not decisions.

The term grassroots democracy is somewhat looser and is often used to imply a broad range of consensus-promoting measures, short of a full consensus democracy. This term is generally preferred by those who are not claiming to promise a "strict consensus" system (which is interpreted by many as meaning "act only on unanimity"), e.g. if there is to be an integration with an existing representative democracy.

In general, the term 'consensus democracy' is usually associated with the political 'left' while the term 'semi-direct democracy' is usually associated with the political 'right'. The term 'grassroots democracy' is more neutral and has been employed by both 'the left' and 'the right' in the English-speaking world and its institutions. For instance, the Green Party of the United States, the Republican Party of the United States, the Canadian Alliance Party, and the Green Party of Canada[?] have all used it in the recent past. There seems to be consensus on the term 'grassroots', even if there is often little similarity in the measures proposed.

Nonetheless, there remain people who believe that pure consensus decision making can be applied directly to make major political decisions, so the theory of consensus democracy remains distinct.

Elements of this theory:

See also: consensus decision making, grassroots democracy



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