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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 »

Australia 2020: Broadbased consultation on the future

11. June 2008 – 16:24 by Danish Technological Institute

To consult the Australian public, strengthen the participatory process and outcome Kevin Rudd (Australian Prime Minister) announced in February 2008 an Australia 2020 Summit to help shape a long term strategy for the nation’s future – a strategy requiring long-term commitment and responses beyond the usual electoral cycle. In this connection more then 1000 opinion makers and citizens were invited to give their opinion and provide their input to help shape a long term strategy for the Australia’s future. More then 3600 persons and interest organisations submitted in excess of 8800 suggestions for evaluation and discussion culminating in the Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra 19-20 April this year.

The summit and consultation process focused on ten areas deemed critical for Australia’s future i.e.: Read the rest of this entry »