Today FSFE is announcing its revised constitution, adding two Fellowship Seats to its General Assembly. This will give Fellows of FSFE a direct representation in FSFE's strategic decision making body.
The Fellowship is FSFE's larger community. Launched in 2005, it provides a meeting place with regular online and offline activities, a framework for activity and cooperation, a migration path into the organisation, and one of the most important ways of supporting FSFE's work in all areas, providing both resources and political support. Now the Fellowship also provides a path into the General Assembly.
In early 2009, FSFE will post a call for nominations among all Fellows who have been with the organisation for at least a year. Before the next convening of the General Assembly, candidates will come up for election among all Fellows in time for the first Fellowship Seat to be filled. The second seat will be defined the year after. Those elected will serve a two year term and there will thus be one election per year from now on.
The required constitutional change to allow for this was prepared after the 2007 General Assembly and adopted unanimously by the eight members of the GA represented at FSFE's 2008 annual meeting from June 6th to 8th in the FSFE Zurich office.
Georg Greve, FSFE's President, commented: "We were convinced that we should introduce an element of accountability towards and strategic involvement of the Fellows in FSFE. More than an advisor or an observer, we wanted this involvement to be as an equal. Of course we were eager to put this into practice soon, but constitutional changes should never be taken lightly since a hasty change could have severe consequences. So we did it as fast as our responsibility to FSFE allowed and are glad we got it done now so that next year's General Assembly meeting will already be with the first Fellow."
Matthias Kirschner, the Fellowship Coordinator added "Because this is the first year, we're going to have to work hard to give the Fellows a way to get to know each other. Each candidate will have a platform, so it will be possible for the voters to know them, but we also want the candidates to know the voters. As well as improving the technical infrastructure on fsfe.org, we'll be increasing the number of regional Fellowship meetings in the coming months."
Pablo Machon, FSFE's Vice President, said: "We modelled our voting system on that used by Debian. It's a well tested method and has proven to be resistant to voting anomalies. To be a candidate, someone has to have been a Fellow for one year already. This is because we want the Fellowship representative to know the organisation and what it's like to be a Fellow. For voting, all Fellows can vote as soon as they sign up."
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and involved in many global activities. Access to software determines participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study, modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues of the FSFE.
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