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What is the Brussels Citizens' Assembly?


The Brussels Citizens' Assembly is the first Brussels political institution made up entirely of citizens drawn by lot from the population of Brussels.

Objective: A new Brussels political institution

The objective is for the Assembly to exist in parallel with the Brussels Parliament , while being more representative of the diversity of people and opinions existing within the Brussels-Capital Region. In a parallel existence of Parliament, these two chambers can propose laws, question the government and validate the work of the other chamber.

Within the Assembly, citizens have the opportunity to deliberate on subjects falling within the competence of the Brussels region such as the environment, spatial planning, housing, energy or employment. The Assembly is therefore an opportunity for citizens to make their voices heard and to have a place in the decision-making process in their own region.

Since the citizens drawn by lot are not constrained by party lines or the upcoming elections, the Assembly allows a real exchange of ideas and decisions in the general interest and in the long term, which will lead to a fairer political system .

The Assembly and Agora

Currently, the Assembly does not yet have a legal structure but has the ambition to be institutionalized as described above.


The BCA was initiated and is currently organized by Agora , a citizen political movement that proposes a form of democracy by lot. More specifically, its objective is to set up and promote the institutionalization of a deliberative Citizen Assembly drawn by lot and endowed with legislative power.

In its founding text, Agora describes in more detail the reasoning that led to this idea of ​​the Brussels Citizen Assembly.

The Assembly and Parliament

As long as the Assembly is not an official institution, its decisions have no legal value in themselves. Agora therefore proposed a temporary approach which already made it possible to launch the concept of the Citizens' Assembly.


Agora has decided to stand for the 2019 regional elections, promising to organize the Assembly itself and to relay the proposals of the Brussels Citizens' Assembly through the spokesperson elected to the Brussels Parliament .

In the elections, Agora was granted a seat in Parliament through its elected MP Pepijn Kennis. Thus, the Assembly was launched and its decisions are relayed to the Brussels Parliament by this spokesperson. The elected representative defends the opinions and decisions of the Assembly in Parliament and votes only according to the decisions taken by the Assembly (or on themes related to citizen participation)!

Organizing the Assembly in this way makes it possible to learn about citizen participation, its implementation and its methodology, to inspire the general public and politicians, and above all to already give a direct voice to the citizens of Brussels in Parliament.


The Assembly cycles

Each semester, an Assembly cycle is organized, and expresses itself on Brussels themes - either proactively or reactively (see below).


The citizens drawn by lot who make up the Assembly - called the ' assemblists ' - are offered to participate in two consecutive cycles, and therefore have a mandate that lasts one year. After each semester, half of the Assembly is renewed. In this way, a continuity and a passage of knowledge in the Assembly is ensured.

The first two cycles of the Assembly took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and had an adapted course, number of assembly members and the length of their mandates.

Proactive and reactive cycles

A cycle of Brussels Citizens' Assembly can be proactive or reactive.

We speak of a proactive cycle when its members formulate proposals on a specific subject. For example: the first Assembly looked into the subject of housing and submitted its recommendations in the form of a Citizen Resolution.

During a proactive cycle, the Assembly has a six-day agenda spread over a semester. The assemblists are led to learn more about their subject by asking questions to experts, to propose ideas and to deliberate on them together, to arrive at a final product which can go from a text of proposals to a full scale ordonnance- or resolution proposal.

The cycle is described as reactive when it reacts to political actualities, i.e. the work carried out by the Brussels parliamentarians in the committees.

During a reactive cycle, the Assembly has a tighter agenda, given the speed with which proposals are typically dealt with in parliamentary committees (often only a month or two between their introduction and the vote in committee and plenary). Thus, an adapted agenda is proposed which allows the Assembly to react quickly to these proposals, while respecting its objectives of inclusiveness and deliberation.


Inclusive amenities

Several arrangements have been put in place to ensure an informed and balanced debate in which every citizen can effectively take part .

  • Professional facilitators supervise the debate to allow an equal right to speak and avoid the establishment of mechanisms of oppression.

  • The Assembly welcomes experts, chosen in order to clarify the stakes of the questions dealt with.

  • The positioning of the Assembly is determined by methods of common choice, such as majority judgment and management by consent.

  • Assembly days are generally held on Saturdays.

  • Assemblists receive a small remuneration per day spent at the Assembly (around 40 € per day).

  • A daycare is provided.


Composition and Representativeness

Anyone with the right to vote at regional or municipal level in the Brussels-Capital region can potentially be drawn.

Composition of the assembly:

  • The Assembly will be composed of 50% of people who identify as woman and 50% who identify as man **

  • The Assembly will be representative of the different age groups (33% 18-34 years; 37% 35-54 years and 30% 55 years and over)

  • The Assembly will be representative of the different qualification levels in Brussels (37% lower secondary or less; 27% upper secondary; 36% higher studies)

** The 2018 demographic surveys for the Brussels region are 48.8% men and 51.2% women. Concretely, this would represent 43 to 44 men and 45 to 46 women. However, in order to leave room for maneuver in the composition of the assembly and to allow people who do not fall into either of the two categories to participate in the Assembly, we propose to ensure the presence of at least 40 male persons and 40 female persons and strive for equality.

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