Habitat International Coalition
Global network for the right to habitat and social justice
 
Habitat International Coalition (HIC) HIC Presidential and Board Election and Representation By-Law
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By-Law approved by the HIC General Assembly, on February 11th 2008, Barcelona
Author: Habitat International Coalition (HIC)
02-11-2008

The present By-law provides the criteria for procedures in the interest of ensuring the utmost possible participation and democratic process of elections of the President of the Coalition and the representatives of HIC Structures, while preserving the autonomy of the Structures, the integrity of HICs institutional framework and the unimpeded operation of the Coalition.


HIC Constitution establishes out three electoral processes:

  • The election of HIC President by the General Assembly from among the members of the Association.
  • The election of regional representatives through democratic processes established in each region by the members of the Association located within the region.

The election of representatives of the Committees from among their members.

And the designation by the HIC Board of:

  • Representatives of social movements.

Associated Board members, to complement expertise, knowledge and areas of interest within the Board.

It is resolved that:

1. Each Region and approved Thematic Committee (HIC Structures) shall abide by these basic procedures, and shall submit to the current Executive Committee of the HIC Board its detailed proposal for the democratic election of their representative(s) to the Board for consideration and approval as consistent with the HIC Constitution and this By-law, complying with the election deadline established herein.

Part 1: Terms and Designations of Office

2. For the purpose of this By-law, the terms Board Member, Member of the Board, Board representative and representative to the Board are synonymous.

3. For the purpose of this By-law, the terms Board representative and representative to the Board refer to the individual sitting on the HIC Board, voting as the representative of the HIC Structure that elected him/her.

4. For the purpose of this By-law, the terms Habitat International Coalition, HIC, and Coalition and the Association are synonymous.

5. HIC Structure means any of the regional divisions or thematic Committees comprising the Board, regardless of whether they carry the name of Committee or other designation in their legal title.

6. For the purpose of this By-law, the term year refers to twelve (12) solar months commencing with the date of election.

7. The term limit of two consecutive terms means that no individual may serve in any position, or any combination of positions, on the HIC Board for more than eight (8) years consecutively.

8. At no time shall a Board Member and/or alternate Board Member serve in more than one Board position simultaneously.

9. To ensure continuity on the Board, the Membership Structures, the Board and the General Secretariat shall coordinate the electoral process so that approximately half of the Board Members are elected every two years.

10. For the purpose of this By-law, the term good standing refers to the status of a HIC Member organization or Friend of HIC as (1) complying with the HIC Constitution (1997) and Philosophy, Principles and Objectives (1997), and (2) having paid its annual membership dues to the HIC Secretariat, or to other authorized structure for the current period.

11. The term annual membership fee, or membership fee, or membership dues, or dues are synonymous and mean the payment for HIC membership as required in the HIC Constitution and specified by the Board. Annual fee payments apply to a term of twelve (12) solar months, beginning with the date of the Members payment to the HIC Secretariat, or to other designated Focal Point.

12. For the purpose of this By-law, the term General Assembly refers to all members of the Coalition eligible to attend General Assembly meetings and participate in elections, in accordance with the Constitution and this By-law

Part 2: Right to vote, eligibility and nominations

13. HIC Members who have paid their annual membership fees are entitled to elect the President and to vote during General Assemblies.

14. HIC Structures can submit to approval of HIC Executive Committee the criteria for the validation of the right to vote for regional or thematic elections in coordination with HIC General Secretariat and informing to the HIC Board.

15. Each Member Organization shall designate their voting representative at the time of updating its membership with HIC. Only designated Voting Representatives shall be entitled to vote in HIC elections, or to be nominated for the HIC Board. If the Voting Representatives has not a directive/executive status within the HIC member organization s/he must certify a proxy authorizing his/her vote.

Eligibility for Board Representatives

16. Eligible Members of the HIC Board must be representatives from organizational members of HIC, who are elected as for their individual willingness and capacities to carry out the work required of a Board Member and representing a social base in their respective HIC Structure.

17. Eligible candidates to Board positions shall be representatives of organizational Members of the Coalition in good standing for at least one year at the time of their nomination.

18. No employee of the HIC Secretariat may be eligible to run for or serve in a Board office. In the event that a HIC Secretariat employee seeks a Board office, then that employee shall resign from her/his Secretariat post and serve no other Secretariat post during the term of that Board office in which s/he serves.

19. Candidates for any election shall be nominated by at least one organizational Member of the Coalition other than the one to which s/he is primarily affiliated. Members eligible for nominating Board Member candidates are those HIC organizational Members in good standing for at least one year at the time of the nomination and based in the corresponding region, or inscribed in the corresponding thematic Structure for at least one year at the time of the nomination.

Eligibility for HIC President

20. Eligible candidates to HIC President shall be representative of a Coalition Member organization in good standing for at least three (3) years at the time of the nomination.

21. The candidates for the position of HIC President shall be nominated by a minimum of five (5) Members of the Coalition in good standing for at least one year at the time of the nomination, and based in any region.

Eligibility for representatives of social movements and for associate Board Members

22. At least one of the social movement representatives on the Board should be a member of the Coalition at the time of their nomination. Representatives of social movements and associate Board Members shall be nominated by a HIC Structure or a HIC member in good standing for at least one year at the time of the nomination.

23. Associated Board Member may be named by the Board to complement expertise, knowledge and areas of interest. (art. 9.6 of the Constitution)

Nominations

24. In order to confirm the eligibility of any candidate, both the nominee and the nominees own organization each shall confirm in writing their acceptance of the candidacy.

25. For the purpose of the electoral campaign, two (2) documents are required: from the nominees own organization, a brief statement indicating the name and general activities; from the person nominated a bio and a motivation letter.

Part 3: Electoral process for representatives of HIC Structures

26. Focal Points and Committee coordinators are responsible for ensuring that their Structures conduct the election by notifying constituent members of the electoral process and calling for volunteer Members to serve as the Electoral Committee six months before the end of the current Board representatives term. In the event that a Focal Point or Committees fails to perform its duty to convene an election in their region or structure, the General Secretary shall coordinate the call for electoral process four months before the occurrence of a vacancy. However, this measure is not preferable and should be taken as an extreme remedy, as the Secretariat should not supplant the autonomous roles and responsibilities of the Members thematic or regional Structures. The General Secretary must inform the Board of the situation and procedures and convene an appropriate Electoral Committee in compliance with this By-law.

27. An Electoral Committee, HIC Structure and HIC Secretariat shall implement electoral procedures in accordance with the HIC Constitution and this By-law.

28. An Electoral Committee should be comprised of at least three (3) Member representatives with gender and geographical diversity from among the respective region or thematic Committee. The members of the Electoral Committee shall be responsible for determining the division of labour and nominating a coordinator of the overall process.

29. HIC Structures and/or Electoral Committees shall submit the current electoral plan to the HIC Boards Executive Committee for to certify its compliance with the HIC Constitution and this By-law.

30. The Electoral Committee members shall not be eligible to nominate or contest for any candidacy for the election that they serve. But the Electoral Committee members have right to vote if they fulfil the requirements of paragraphs 13 and 14.

31. Electoral Committee members serve on a voluntary basis. Under no circumstances shall a member of an Electoral Committee accept or receive any remuneration for his/her service on the Electoral Committee.

32. The concerned HIC Structure coordinating the election assumes the responsibility for identifying and obtaining any needed resources.

33. The Electoral Committee shall set a timetable for the electoral process, including the deadline for receiving votes.

34. The Electoral Committee in coordination with the Focal Point or Network Coordinator and the General Secretariat must identify and inform the list of voting HIC Members and their voting representative.

35. The Electoral Committee shall ensure that calls for nominations, all communications with the electorate and voting process take place through reliable media. If any eligible Members are not linked and communicating through reliable electronic mail and/or internet, then the Electoral Committee shall ensure the means and time needed for postal communications, augmented with telephonic communications and scheduled meetings, when possible, shall take place within a reasonable election timetable, without prejudice to any Members right to submit a vote.

36. The election processes shall take place by fax, postal and/or electronic correspondence, ensuring the most complete participation of eligible voters possible.

37. Call for vote shall include candidates names, the names of the Member they represent, the names of the nominating Member(s) and the candidates statement. The Electoral Committee shall distribute the nominations to the electorate no less than three (3) months before the end of the outgoing term.

38. Each HIC Member organization has the right to one (1) vote. The Electoral Committee also shall respect all Members right to a confidential vote and shall not disclose any specific Members electoral choice. However, if HIC Members raise an objection to the electoral outcome, as provided in Part 7 of this By-law, the Mediation Group shall have access to the register of votes.

39. Voting Members should post their mail-in vote no later than eight (8) weeks prior to the end of the outgoing term. The Electoral Committee shall count votes on the deadline date and announce the results as soon as possible after careful counting. The Electoral Committee shall retain copies of the register of the votes for review or recount in the event of a request from the membership, according to point 55.

Part 4: Presidential Elections

40. The HIC Secretariat bears the responsibility for ensuring conduct of the election for HIC President by calling for volunteer Members, represented by one person each from among the respective regions or thematic Committees, to serve as the Presidential Electoral Committee. The General Secretariat shall assume the responsibility for identifying and obtaining any needed resources to conduct election of HIC President.

41. The Presidential Electoral Committee shall administer the presidential election according to the paragraphs 13, 20, 21, 24, 25 and 27 through 39 of this By-law and in compliance with Article 9 of the HIC Constitution.

Part 5: Social Movement Representatives and Associate Board Member

42. The Board may enlarge the representation of Social Movements at the Board by inviting additional representatives after the Board has undertaken a careful assessment of qualifications, skills and interests, and after having conducted the widest possible search for invitees who would complement the attributes of the elected Board and/or enhance the Coalition and its inclusive membership.

43. An invitation/appointment of Social Movement and Associate Members of the Board is subject to a two-thirds affirmative vote of the sitting Board.

44. An invited Social Movement and Associate Member of the Board shall indicate her/his acceptance in writing before the designation process to their Board position.

45. The HIC Constitution authorizes, but does not require the Board to invite an Associate Member. The Associate Members should complement the attributes of the Board and/o enhance the Coalition and its inclusive membership

46. Invited Social Movement representatives and Associate Members of the Board shall serve terms of two (2) years, once renewable and shall be subject to the same rights, responsibilities and conditions of other Board Members.

Part 6: Vacating Office

47. The office of Board Member shall be vacated in the instance of any of the following events:

a. Upon the Board Members formal notice, in writing, to the Secretariat, informing of her/his resignation and explaining the reason.

b. Upon the death or incapacitation of the Board Member.

c. The severance of the Board Member's affiliation with a Member organization in good standing.

d. By a documentable-verifiable violation of HIC Constitution or By-laws and by failure to subscribe to or act in accordance with the objectives of HIC. (The Board may elaborate and adopt a Code of Ethics to further define appropriate conduct, violation of which would constitute cause for Member or Board Member removal.) A petition signed by 2/3 of the disinterested Board Members then in office at least four weeks prior to any regular or special meeting of the Board may propose removal. Notice of the petition for removal shall be delivered to the Board Member proposed for removal at least four weeks prior to a duly constituted Board meeting, and said Member shall be given an opportunity to be heard at the meeting prior to any vote on removal. The Board may then vote by 2/3 of the disinterested Board members present and voting to remove the Member or Board Member for cause. A Member or Board Member so removed may appeal the decision of the Board within two months after the Boards decision to the next duly constituted General Assembly meeting.

48. If a vacancy of an elected Member occurs under paragraph 47 of this By-law, the alternate Board Member sits as the principal Board Member representing that Structure until the end of the current term of office. The HIC Structure, in consultation with Member organizations based in the respective region or inscribed in the respective thematic Structure, shall nominate a new alternate Board Member to complete the vacated term giving preference to the nominees of the previous election.

49. In the event that the remaining term is three (3) years or more, a new alternate shall be elected in accordance with paragraphs 27 through 39 of this By-law.

50. In the event whereby neither principal or alternate Board representative vacancy is filled from office according to paragraphs 27 through 39 of this By-law for the period of one (1) year, the Board shall exercise its discretion to appoint a Board Member representative from among the Members in the corresponding Structure, taking into consideration recommendations of any remaining Board Members and other members of this Structure and with due regard to the criteria set out in paragraphs 13 through 19 of this By-law.

51. In the case of a vacancy in the office of President in accordance with any of the conditions of paragraph 47 of this By-law, the HIC Secretariat shall initiate nomination and electoral proceedings as soon as possible in compliance with Article 9 of the HIC Constitution and the procedures provided in this By-law, providing that the balance of the term is at least two years. If the remaining term of office is less than two years, the Board shall exercise its discretion to appoint a replacement from among its members to complete the term of office.

Part 7: Results, Validation of Elections and Mediation Group

52. The new Member of the Board is the candidate who has received the most votes. The alternate is the candidate of opposite sex who has received the next highest number of votes. For HIC Regions with more than 100 voting members in good standing, the two Representatives to the Board shall be of opposite sex.

53. The responsible Electoral Committee shall certify the validity of the election of Board Members, affirming and documenting the participation of a quorum of at least ten percent (10%) of eligible voting HIC Members in the Structure or of eligible voting HIC members in HIC President Elections.

54. In the event that the electoral process has not completed the quorum for elections, the Electoral Committee must inform the Board and the whole list of electors of the HIC Structure. If, within two months after the announcement of results the election, no objection to the electoral procedure or outcome is raised consistent with the conditions provided in paragraph 52, the election shall be validated.

55. Objections to the electoral procedures or the results can be presented in writing to the General Secretariat maximum two months after the elections with support of at least ten percent (10%) of the eligible voting HIC members.

56. Mediation Group formed by a Board Member, a delegate of the Electoral Committee and representatives of the parties analyse the objections and seek an agreement for the validation, or not, of elections.

Part 8: Current HIC Electoral and Nomination Posts

57. The HIC structures with Board representation are the following:

  • President
  • Regions: Asia (1); Africa Anglophone (1); Africa Francophone (1); Europe (1); Latin America (2); North America (1) ; Middle East and North Africa (1)
  • Networks: Habitat and Sus

 

 
 
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