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The 10th World eDemocracy Forum and PEP-Net

26. September 2009 – 09:22 by Eric Legale

The World eDemocracy Forum is one of the main venues for key international e-Participation players. As founding member of PEP-Net, I would like to make this annual event a promotional event for our network. The election of Barack Obama at the White House has validated theories developed in the Forum since ten years on the impact of ICT on political life and civic participation. Time is coming for more concrete practice. We want now to bring to light those who daily work to build the digital society for citizens.

It is why our special guests are finalists of the e-Democracy Awards, selected by our partners (PoliticsOnline in US, Politech Institute in Europe, Blog Territorial in France). They are coming from USA, Egypt, Bolivia, Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany or UK and each of them has a project, an idea, an application that transforms politics in their countries and beyond. We are very excited to learn more and more about new practices.

The World eDemocracy Forum is participating in the “Pep-Net Conference Series”, an initiative started by Pep-Net members, who are organizing conferences throughout the years 2009 and 2010. As a special programme there will be additional workshops lead by Pep-Net members and invited speakers. After Vienna (September) and Berlin (October) and before London (November), Issy (Paris) will be the next stop for PEP-Net members (October 22-23).

We organize a special visit in the French National Assembly.  A meeting with the chairman of the IT group in the National Assembly is specially organized for PEP-Net members on the following question: “Is it possible to transfer Obama’s net-campaign to Europe?”. It is a reference of the interesting note published by Hans Hagedorn last August.

- The World eDemocracy Forum Program
- Registration (Special rate for PEP-Net members)

Please note that Paris is a very attractive destination for tourism. It is sometime difficult to book a room close to the conference. Don’t wait for book your room in our partner: “Hotel Ocenia“.

I hope to meet you in Paris !

Technology use in the 2009 South African elections

20. April 2009 – 13:44 by Danish Technological Institute

by Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen, Danish Technological Institute

Much has been reported about the successful campaigning, fund raising and support canvassing by the 2008 Obama election campaign. Still the use of ICT to increase electoral participation, campaigning, consultation and voting is not a uniquely US phenomena. A multitude of eParticipation and eDemocracy initiatives exist. Ranging from eVoting in Estonia’s and Geneva’s national and regional elections, gender budgeting in Freiburg, consultation on local issues in Malmö to the political influence of bloggers in China or in the 2008 election crisis in Kenya. Information communication technology (ICT) in other words plays an increasingly important role in society.

As South Africans go to the polling stations on 22 April 2009, campaigning is being played out in traditional media (TV, radio, print), on the internet, on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, in text messages/sms’s with street banners and in rallies across the country.

A full 173 parties – 134 at national level plus 39 purely provincial parties – are officially registered for the 2009 elections. Of these the four main ones are (alphabetic order):

  • ANC - African National Congress and currently in power with the support, in a tripartite alliance, of the smaller South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
  • COPE – Congress of the People in 2008 by formed members of the ANC
  • DA – Democratic Alliance and currently the official opposition
  • IFP – Inkatha Freedom Party a mainly regional party centered on the province of KwaZulu-Natal

Each of the main parties makes use of ICT in some form and in variety of ways and degrees. The table below outlines the use of websites and social networks (or Web2.0 technologies). Read the rest of this entry »