Last Monday Palmeiras’ Deliberative Council (DC) continued the interrupted meeting of 1 October, voting on the amendments of the Direct Vote proposal to be implemented as of the 2014 elections. The whole thing went fairly smooth, but not entirely to the taste of this blogger and other progressive forces wanting to see more dramatic change to Palmeiras. The always excellent Luciano Pasqualini, Executive Director of the Fanfulla political movement, posted a good summary containing the main points of the approved proposal: below you find bits and pieces translated – thanks to the valuable contribution from Eduardo Toledo – with a few additional comments from yours truly.
What has been approved by a majority of the DC
1) Instead of eight years, the presidential candidates will only need four years of experience as counsellor. <Good change>
2) Presidential candidates must form a platform, consisting of a president and four vice-presidents. Today candidates run individually, meaning we sometimes end up with vice-presidents that have a different political platform than the president. <Good change>
3) Platforms are registered and subjected to pre-approval by the DC before deemed valid to run in the elections. At Monday’s session a majority of the DC (84 vs. 64 votes) opted for a 20 per cent filter, meaning that any platform must receive 20 per cent of the votes of the DC or 50 votes, whichever number is greater. <This is where it gets tricky. Some sort of filter is in my view justified in order to avoid having an exaggerated number of platforms or brake very populist/manipulative moves, but a 20 per cent filter is too high, especially considering that almost half of the DC’s members are appointed for life (have not been elected by the Club’s Associates). The filter should be made low enough to allow for new oxygen, giving the Associates freedom of choice between a multitude of platforms running in the elections. 10 or 15 per cent would both be better options. As now stands, a maximum of five different platforms could run in the election (provided at least 250 out of almost 300 counsellors of the DC are present and cast their votes, and that each platform receives exactly 20 per cent of the votes – a highly unlikely scenario). An obvious risk with the high filter is that only “traditional” political profiles – those that already count on support from large parts of the DC due to a number of reasons, many of which would not look good in daylight – would pass in the DC and qualify for running in the elections. Meaning we’d be facing a stalemate.>
4) The Audit Committee (COF) will also be elected by the Associates. <Good change>
5) The General Assembly (including Direct Elections) will take place in the second half of November (today it takes place in January), and the new Management takes office on December 15 or 5 days after the last official match of the year. <Good change>
In addition to the above a few other changes were approved, such as a requirement for presidential candidates to formally submit a “Plan of Government”. It was also approved that the sitting President must, at the end of his term, conduct a coordinated transition to the newly elected Management. <All good changes>
— ooo —
Even considering the filter, the approval is a gigantic step toward democratisation at Palmeiras. With the new order, the Associates will in the end elect the Management which will naturally have to broaden their attention from roughly 100 counsellors of the DC (traditionally sufficient to guarantee your re-election) to the more than 10.000 current Associates. This will in turn expand the political involvement of many of the Associates.
What are the next steps? Well, the President of the DC will make the call for a General Assembly (GA): according to the statuary deadline, elections should happen either by the end of December, or, more likely, by January. The President should release the date later this week.
At the GA, Associates will vote on the Direct Vote proposal. It is unclear how this will happen, the crucial point being if the project will be presented before the GA as a package or as the original proposal with several amendments, each voted separately. The second option is what we must fight for: the good bits approved by the DC would need a simple majority by the GA in order to be ratified; a modification to the filter amendment would require a 2/3 majority. The latter is more difficult, but not at all impossible.