What problem are you solving?:

In Serbia, there is no possibility for citizens to communicate with MPs who represent them in the legislative process. Besides 3 recently established constituency offices, there are no other channels of communication between citizens and the MPs. However these offices cannot provide enough space for citizens to talk to elected politicians, having in mind the 250 MPs and population of over 7 million people. There are no internet based tools for effective and transparent democratic discussions between citizens and elected politicians as e-democracy solutions have not been used or developed in Serbia. Parliament has the official web site, but do not offer e-mail addresses of MPs for citizens’ inquiries. Introduction of internet failed to bring more interactivity for the Parliament, focusing more on information transfer and less on the dialogue with the citizens. Such practice erodes citizens’ confidence and trust in the Parliament.

Describe your idea:

The Zajecar Initiative (ZI) will create website at www.e-parliament.rs which will serve as a bridge to ensure two-way communication between citizens and their representatives. Email addresses of MPs will be gathered in cooperation with Deputies’ Groups and National Parliament Support Service. Website will include user-friendly interface that will allow users to easily search and browse MPs database and to generate and send messages. It will be also possible to use spam filters to eliminate unsolicited and offending emails as well as email templates to clearly indicate reply-to address. Website will be extensively promoted via media. ZI will regularly assess responsiveness of MPs using following indicators: the reply rate, the interval for reply and answer’s relevance considering the solicitation. Assessment results will be published and promoted by media. This will also be the way of involving citizens into debates over Parliament ‘s actions through forums and blogs.

What country will this operate in?: Serbia

Who are you?:

Zajecar Initiative (ZI) is non-profit organization, which mission is development of a civil society and grassroots democracy in Serbia. The vision of ZI is strong civil society, acting as democracy watchdog, that is able to both keep a check on government performance and participate in policy formulation and implementation that will enhance good governance. ZI was established in 2001 as a response to emerging transition challenges by a group of young people. So far, ZI has cooperated with the European Agency for Reconstruction, National Endowment for Democracy, National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, Norwegian People’s Aid, Fund for an Open Society, Institute for Sustainable Communities, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Schueler Helfen Leben etc. Since 2007, ZI has been awarding small grants to youth NGOs in the Eastern Serbia. ZI is a member of two nationwide networks: The Network of Resource Centers in Serbia and the Peace Policy Network.