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e-Democracy update - 1/3/06

01 March, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Queensland e-Democracy projects for March

The Queensland state government has a range of consultations and petitions that will close in March.

You can view the consultations here.

Also participate in state government petitions, which can be found here.

South Africa politicians blogging for local government election

Various candidates from South Africa have blogged their experiences in the lead-up to today's local government election.

The blogs are a part of a project co-developed with online publication Mail & Guardian Online and Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies.

Mail & Guardian Online publisher Matthew Buckland says the blogs allow readers to see another side of their political leaders and put comments directly to them.

“In many ways blogs are a very accessible and democratic form of publishing and we are taking this a step further by using blogs to further democracy,” Mr Buckland says.

You can view the blogs here.

UK local government blogging slow on uptake

A small percentage of local government politicians in the UK have started engaging in online democracy and very few have an online prescence, according to the head of a local government network project. Project Manager Paul Evans says only a tiny percentage of councillors use their sites to do anything more than list contact details.

"The only way to get councillors to run good sites is to remove all the obstacles and give them as much advice, help and encouragement as they need," says Evans.

Some councillors say the lack of online presence could be due to a rule banning local authority sites from carrying material that could be deemed political, which means councillors have to set up personal sites for such material.

Lewisham councillor Andrew Brown says the policy means he has two sites to keep up to date.

"It would be nice if I just had the one, and it was the one I wanted it to be," Councillor Brown says.

Read The Guardian Unlimited's special report "e-Democracy: tied up in red tape".

S.Korea to host online debate

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will participate in a live debate on the Internet next month.

Roh will field questions from the public posted on five major Internet portals that will carry the debate with a pre-selected panel, his office said in a statement.

This debate comes as President Roh enters his third year of a five-year term.

President Roh said he would focus his remaining two years on reducing social disparity and on reaching a free trade agreement with the United States.

"Those will be the biggest issues of the remaining term, and both will probably be very tough," he said.

Poll: liberal blog readers prefer Feingold as US president

A recent polls shows that most readers of liberal blog sites prefer Senator Russ Feingold as their presidential candidate for the 2008 US elections.

Liberal blog The Daily Kos conducted the poll that showed 30 per cent of over 11,000 participants voted Feingold as a preferred Democratic presidential candidate.

Pew Research Center director and independent pollster Andrew Kohut says the poll shows how Feingold rings the bells of “people who represent the true believers in the Democratic Party”.

"The question is, what is the breadth of his appeal to other Democratic constituencies whose opinions are not as tightly stitched together?" Mr Kohut says.

Other well-known Democrat candidates such as Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator John Kerry scored low. Senator Clinton captured 4 per cent of the poll's votes and Senator Kerry only managed 3 per cent.

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