by Tom Bentley
George Papandreou, now Leader of the Opposition and President of PASOK, the Greek Socialist Party, launched a new NGO at a conference in Athens this week. Access2Democracy grew out of last year's Greek presidency of the EU, when Papandreou, as foreign minister, regularly took the results of his 'e-vote' initiative to the Council of Ministers as they debated how to handle Iraq, immigration, the environment and so on.
The organisation is dedicated to the development of e-democracy, and how it can help revive and reshape existing political systems, which Papandreou argues are under siege from a range of forces which you would have found in the Demos catalogue over the last few years.
Papandreou's speech (read it on the website) was a powerful statement of the need for a new view of what democracy means, and the need for political institutions to 'reconnect'. It is striking, though, that this initiative should emerge in the 'international NGO' space, with its connections to national political debates less clear. One to watch, though, and with strong connections to Demos' current project on the European elections with the UK's electoral commission.