Axelle Lemaire has been Minister of State for Digital Affairs in the French government since 9 April 2014. In this capacity, she drafted and promoted the Digital Republic Bill which aims
to bolster the data economy and transparency of government action, to establish new rights for Internet users and to make digital technology more available to everyone. In a ground-
breaking political move, a government bill was, for the first time, submitted for public consultation on a website. Over 150,000 votes were received and there were over 20,000 participants. This new form of contributory democracy helped make tangible improvements to the bill’s text, in particular, by adding a number of provisions originating from collective intelligence.
With both French and Canadian citizenship, Axelle Lemaire grew up in Quebec and came to France in her teens. She studied literature, followed by political science at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, before majoring in law. She lived in London for more than ten years, where she worked as an international lawyer in both law firms and academic research institutions, and then served for several years in the House of Commons as a parliamentary assistant. In June 2012, she was elected as a Socialist MP to represent French citizens living in Northern Europe at the National Assembly. In Parliament, she was Secretary of the Constitutional Acts, Legislation and General Administration Committee, and also sat on the European Affairs Committee.
The last year has been marked by a global rise of populist political projects, carrying nationalist aspirations of closed borders and ultimately revealing the deep mistrust of political elites and traditional government institutions. Globally, electoral defeats of liberal parties have…