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Department of Political and Social Sciences

Filip Kostelka serves as expert to Canadian citizen assembly on election reform

A deliberative assembly in Quebec invited SPS faculty member and Chair in Political and Social Change, Filip Kostelka, to provide his expertise on election reform.

14 June 2023 | Event - Publication - Research

Quebec citizens assembly Kostelka presenting

Researchers from the University of Montreal and University of Sherbrooke, backed by Canada's government and several non-governmental bodies, organised a deliberative assembly on election reforms in Longueuil, Quebec's fifth largest city, on 2–4 June 2023. The assembly invited academic experts on elections and political behaviour, among them EUI Professor Filip Kostelka, to present several reforms of municipal politics, which were subsequently discussed and voted upon by 100 individuals selected from among Canadian citizens residing in Longueuil.

The reforms on the table included compulsory voting, online voting, suffrage extension to permanent residents, and simultaneous provincial and municipal elections. Each reform was successively presented by an expert, discussed in small groups and two plenary sessions, and submitted to a vote.  

Kostelka's central contribution to the three-day assembly was a presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of holding provincial and municipal elections simultaneously. For this he drew in part on a recent co-authored study, published in Comparative Political Studies. In his remarks Kostelka highlighted the reform's positive effects on voter turnout and the municipality's budget. Conversely, he explained that the provincial election campaign might overshadow the municipal one, and that a dissolution of the provincial assembly would necessitate an adjustment of the municipal terms of office.

In the end, the citizens' assembly voted in favour of all the considered reforms but compulsory voting.


Photo credit: Jean-François Daoust

Last update: 14 June 2023

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