Wikipedia's page on the history of sortition explained that some people believe that sortition solves the problems associated with representative democracies. Are there any scholars, politicians, authors, pundits, or famous individuals who argued that sortition is a more effective form of government than direct democracy? In other words, are there any documented cases of people espousing the idea that sortition is the most effective form of democracy?

Sortition is also known as demarchy or stochocracy.

  • I read an article in the Guardian in the context of Brexit and the parliamentary deadlock suggesting sortition could be the way out. Don't think the article used the word "sortition" though, and thus I'm not sure how to find it again (hence comment, not answer).
    – Arno
    Aug 22, 2023 at 8:51
  • @Arno are you maybe thinking of Rory Stewart and his citizen's assembly?
    – CDJB
    Aug 22, 2023 at 8:56
  • @CDJB Seems very plausible to me.
    – Arno
    Aug 22, 2023 at 8:57
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    From the wikipedia article you linked: "The international non-profit and non-partisan research and action institute DemocracyNext, founded by Claudia Chwalisz, advocates for citizens' assemblies with members selected by sortition to become the defining institutions of a next democratic paradigm." There are a lot more examples in the sections Modern Application and Political proposals for sortition. Are you looking for somethig different?
    – xyldke
    Aug 22, 2023 at 9:07
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    @xyldke I was looking for a prominent person who compares direct democracy to sortition. My question has been changed, which I find disappointing. Aug 22, 2023 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


Sure, plenty do including:

  • Marxist economists Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell stated: "[t]he various organs of public authority would be controlled by citizens' committees chosen by lot" when talking about a better future under a Marxist system for democracy.
  • French political activist Étienne Chouard
  • French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon proposed something like sortition as a better constituent assembly for France when he ran for president in 2017 and received about 20% of the vote.
  • I would say, in answer to the title question, that there are not prominent people who hold that position because the people who do hold that position, including those mentioned above, are obscure people rather than prominent ones.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 22, 2023 at 16:47
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    @ohwilleke Mélenchon received ~20% of the votes in the last two French presidential elections, he certainly is prominent in France.
    – xyldke
    Aug 23, 2023 at 6:42
  • The actual question asks for "scholars, politicians, authors, pundits, or famous individuals" not just prominent persons; you should go by the question not the inevitably inaccurate summary in the title. Here "prominent persons" is incredibly vague and requires clarification, which is provided. (Sadly I think certain commenters only read the title.)
    – Stuart F
    Aug 23, 2023 at 8:23
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    @ohwilleke yeah but I stated above it didn't necessarily need to be prominent people according to the actual question just Scholars politicians and famous individuals. Plus one of the people I mentioned is someone who ran for president and received about 20% of the votes for some of those elections, so while he isn't as popular and well-known as a politician whose president of the US or something like that, this isn't really a nobody
    – Tyler Mc
    Aug 23, 2023 at 12:02
  • Melenchon is far from a nobody, seeing as there is a real risk he could end up President in future runs. With the 2 top candidates running off to a 2nd round, there is a true risk he'd be put on the ticket facing off against Le Pen. Consider that 1st rounds have typically had top 3s in the 19-19-19/20-20-20 range. Where one is the left/right moderate, the other 2 are the extreme-right/left candidates. Both extremes tend to get about the same recurring 20% of voters, meaning that a less-popular mainstream candidate could easily slip into 3rd place. Main thing against Melenchon is his age Aug 25, 2023 at 20:51

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