Going Virtual? Analysing the Digitization of Parliamentary Work during the Covid-19 Pandemic from a Comparative Perspective


The crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for parliaments to function properly. Parliamentary work is primarily based on face-to-face interactions, which are at odds with social distancing measures. Unlike previous crises, the current situation has presented democratic parliaments with an unusual alternative: utilizing remote forms of participation while foregoing physical presence, either entirely or partially, albeit with uncertain consequences; or maintaining the requirement of physical presence at the cost of limiting the number of participating parliamentarians during sessions. This essay advances the hypothesis that the chosen solution to this dilemma depends on the specific role played by the parliament in various political systems. By analyzing the implementation of virtual participation methods in the legislatures of the EU-15 countries, we found that, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, parliaments were less inclined to adopt virtual measures that could jeopardize their core activities.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v9n1p21

Keywords: Parliaments; Pandemic; Covid-19; Virtual participation; Digitalization


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