Grattan Puxon

Grattan Puxon

8 APRIL INITIATIVE PROMOTING ROMA DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION By Grattan Puxon 15/02/2015 – The promotion of an open-ended, multi-layered approach to the essential task of carrying through a democratic transition within the Romani movement has received endorsement this week from the 8 April Initiative, which includes leading Roma in Serbia and Bulgaria. A series of Skype consultations have taken place to further discussion on the topic, which is becoming ever more urgent as the situation of Roma and Roma migrants deteriorates and political parity with both state and international institutes remains elusive. A consensus is apparent on the need to boost voter participation in EU, state-level and local elections in order to improve Roma representation in every sphere of political life. However, it is also becoming more widely recognized that in order to gain  the full political potential due 12-million Roma in Europe, a  democratic platform for collective representation should be built.  Such a platform would have to be built on the foundation of  widely-supported democratic elections. In practical terms, what is being debated is the creation under proper supervision of an electronic voting  system which could provide through millions of voters a Mandate for the election of Roma nation representatives. Petar Antic, a former deputy minister in the Serbian Government, who is a leading proponent of the idea, says he believe a democratic transition within the Romani movement is now urgently needed. Thattransition could be achieved by a combination of existing organizations, parties and NGOs or through a new structure. The way forward remains for the present open-ended, says Antic. Political scientist Luan Koka has expressed his eagerness to see the best use made of internet communications and e-voting facilities for the furtherance of collective political aims, including better recognition of the Roma nation as a stakeholder in the European and worldwide political forum. Similar sentiments are being expressed by activists from Bulgaria, Romania Hungary. “It may take several years to build such a system,” Antic said on Wednesday. “A first step could be the use of e-voting by some existing organizations to try out the method. A provisional date for Europe-wide e-voting is 2021, marking the half-century after the adopting of 8 April as Roma Nation Day, now universally celebrated.” Among those organizations showing interest in the concept is the Nish-based League of Roma. Chairman Osman Balic says a one-man one-vote election, utilizing electronic voting would greatly increase the democratic base of any NGO or other group willing to use it. The wider the franchise the greater respect and influence of such organizations. Michael Daduc, secretary of the UK-based Europe Roma Network set up a six-city Skype conference on Saturday [14 Feb] to further promote this groundswell of support for a democratic transition.The ERN will be holding an 8 April event in London, together with its annual general meeting when e-voting will be on the agenda. “We also need to vote in the May general elections,” says Daduc. “And seek full consultative status with the new British Government.” Meanwhile, the 8 April Initiative at a meeting on Thursday pledged to assist in the expansion of democratic voting, as well as the formation of co-operative enterprises. The group believes that to gain full service entitlement under EU standards many more Roma will need to participate in elections, including those for their own collective self-representation.

http://roma.idebate.org/news-articles/8-april-initiative-promoting-roma-democratic-transition

http://romanationday.org/en/

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