OGP Sets 2014 Elections for New Government Leaders

13 May 2013

The Open Government Partnership has come up with another plan for picking new government representatives to its Steering Committee, now looking to hold elections for seven positions in October of 2014.

The OGP also has decided to increase the size of the Steering Committee from 18 to 20 in 2014, according to the minutes of the April 22-24 meeting in London.

A proposal have a second co-chair from civil society was also approved, despite an objection from Brazil, according to the minutes. There are two current government co-chairs, United Kingdom as lead chair and Indonesia. The civil society chair is Warren Krafchik of the International Budget Partnership.

Brazil said the proposal should have been presented in a “clearer, more structured and timely way” before the meeting, and sought more details about how the structure would work, the minutes explain. A footnote indicates that Brazil authorized being mentioned by name, an exception to the no attribution style of the minutes. The meetings are closed.

A variety of other organizational moves were discussed, including reorganization of subcommittees, but the most pressing matter was figure out a new succession plan for the government members on the Steering Committee.

The previous plan failed after none of the incumbent governments would step down, as envisioned in a system agreed to in early 2012. Eight of the nine government members represent “founding” governments. The original plan was for three members to cycle off the committee in 2012, making room for three members elected by the member governments. This would have begun a staged transition to a fully-elected committee. But there were no volunteers.

The civil society side of the committee has already begun implementing its transition process.  Replacing three members who agreed to step down, three new members were chosen. Joining the Steering Committee at the London sessions were: Maryati Abdullah of Indonesia, Veronica Cretu of Moldova and Alejandro Gonzalez of Mexico. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)  

Governments to Keep Three-Year Terms

The new plan for government members will allow all the current government members to serve their three-year terms, ending in September of 2014. Elections would be held by the end of October 2014 for terms of varied lengths.

The minutes say:

In the 2014 election, three governments will receive 3 year terms; two governments will receive 2 year terms; and two governments will receive 1year terms. This will ensure that a minimum of 3 government seats on the Steering Committee will open each year for rotation. Beginning in 2015 and for all subsequent elections, Steering Committee members will be elected for 3 year terms.

The seven spots will be decided by a vote of member governments with candidates self-nominating.

Among details yet to be resolved is how to organize the elections to achieve regional balance.

The minutes also describe a proposal to change the terms for the government co-chairs, to allow the exiting “lead” co-chair to continue serving for another year to facilitate continuity, thus creating a “troika.”

The government co-chairs would be the previous lead chair, the current lead chair, and the next lead chair. Following the UK as lead co-chair will be Indonesia and then Mexico. This idea is to be fleshed out for the next OGP Steering Committee meeting, in July.

See related articles on the April Steering Committee meeting concerning: Reviews, Finance, Stretch Goals.

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