Democracy, Deliberation and Social Distancing in the Pandemic: Adaptive Strategies in Legislatures and Political Parties

  • Thomas Poguntke
  • Susan E. Scarrow
  • Paul D. Webb
Schlagworte: Corona, COVID-19, Pandemie, Anwesenheit, Beschlussfassung, Digitale Entscheidungsfindung, COVID-19 pandemic, physical presence, physical distance, Party congress, plenary session, digital decision-making, voting procedures, Party Leadership election, Candidate Selection Procedures


The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged one of the foundations of democratic practice, namely that people meet in order to decide about the rules and regulations concerning their community. We identify three strategies of coping with the need to restrict or avoid physical presence and provide information on how political parties and parliaments in 29 countries initially responded to the crisis. While it is too early to arrive at definitive conclusions, it is evident that the repercussions on democracy have been substantial: Party congresses and plenary sessions were cancelled or decisions were shifted to more elitist bodies. Yet, there are also signs of widening participatory opportunities by introducing digital decision-making, particularly within political parties.