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Belgium’s experiment in a new kind of democracy

As Britain goes to the polls, the Belgians are turning to randomly-chosen representatives. Could they do any better?

By Eliane Glaser   December 2019

Could randomly choosing citizens result in a better approach to democracy? Photo: Prospect composite

As the institutions of western liberal democracy crumble, could a remedy be emerging in a sliver of east Belgium? Take the train from Brussels, and the medieval cities of Leuven and Liege give way to maize fields and forested hills. After nearly two hours, you arrive at Eupen, the capital of Belgium’s German-speaking community. A picturesque church graces the main square, pavements are lined with bistro tables, and cyclists negotiate the cobbled streets. Even the…

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