Nation-wide participatory budgeting in Portugal

Portugal has announced the world’s first participatory budget on a national scale. Whilst cities around the world, including Lisbon, have adopted participatory budgeting, this is the first attempt of a nation-wide initiative. The project invites people to submit ideas for what the government should spend its money on, and then votes on which ideas are adopted. Proposals can be made in the areas of science, culture, agriculture and lifelong learning. In order to ensure access to all sectors of the population, Portugal is exploring the possibility of letting people cast their votes via ATM machines. Participatory budgeting can drastically improve the quality of public services by directing them to where they are most needed and ensuring that government’s priorities are in line with people’s expectations and needs. The ministers responsible for the implementation of the project are hoping to restore closer contact between government and citizens.