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The Pirate Parties International Court of Arbitration received a complaint from the Czech Pirate Party about the proceedings of the April 2012 General Assembly Conference of PPI. Due to the volume of complaints and requests, the Court of Arbitration apologises for the delay in ruling on this matter.

The Czech Pirate Party also lodged an addendum to the complaint, which is included as part of this ruling.

The Complaint

Dear Court of Arbitration:

Please, let us bring to your attention our doubts about the overall proceedings of the General Assembly of the Pirate Parties International on the 15th of April, 2012:

(i) The General Assembly did not agree upon the agenda for the meeting.

(ii) The General Assembly did not adopt the Rules of Procedure as is mandatory according to IX(6) of the Statutes.

(iii) During the course of the meeting, there was a motion saying "Ballots are numbered thus not secret, do we continue with the proposed system, which is public for both remote as local participants" with result of 9/9 - Y/N.

Based on aforementioned result moderator assumed that the elections were supposed to be held secretly. However, this was valid only in case secret voting was the default way.

(iv) The original rules for the board members elections stated that each candidate had to receive more than half of the total votes (approval voting) but after only 3 out of 5 candidates reached this threshold, a new round of voting followed which yielded no candidate passing the threshold.

When that happened, the moderator called for a motion to accept two of the candidates who received the most votes as board members. This was voted publicly, which is inconsistent with the assumed decision on secret voting.

(v) During the elections of the alternate board members, when there was a tie between the candidates, a public voting followed to determine which of them would be considered second and third respectively. This is inconsistent with the assumed decision on secret voting.

Taking into account the facts mentioned above, the Czech Pirate Party asks the Court of Arbitration of the Pirate Parties International to decide on the following:

I) Whether the results of the General Assembly are valid. II) Whether the motions passed at said General Assembly are valid. III) a) Whether the board members elections are valid. III) b) Whether the board alternates elections are valid. III) c) Whether the COA elections are valid. IV) What the default way of voting at the General Assembly is, whether secret or public.

Court of Arbitration ruling no. 2012-5, August 17th

The Pirate Parties International Court of Arbitration, in accordance with the Pirate Parties International statutes, and the minutes<ref></ref><ref></ref><ref></ref>, recorded footage<ref></ref><ref></ref> and rules of procedure of the Pirate Parties International General Assembly Conference of April 2012, notes:

  1. That the General Assembly implicitly agreed with the agenda of the conference, and ample opportunity was provided to question it, both in advance and during the event.
  2. That the General Assembly agreed by vote to adopt the rules of procedure, as is mandatory according to Statute IX, paragraph 6.
  3. That all voting at the April 2012 General Assembly Conference should have been by public ballot, in accordance with the rules of procedure, §4, paragraph (2), unless an absolute majority requested secret ballots.
  4. That the election method was accepted by absolute majority before the elections<ref></ref>, as requiered by §5 of the rules of procedure.
  5. That there was a procedural error on the part of the General Assembly by failing to adhere to the rules of procedure.
  6. That these procedural errors were not challenged during the GA, implying that there was no significant lack of consensus.
  7. That there is no evidence that adoption of secret ballots was expressly contested by participants of the GA, and that when debating which to use, the rules of procedure were not referred to.
  8. That there is no indication that the election results would be different if public voting was used and therefore there is no evidence that the adoption of secret ballots had any effect on the election results.

Therefore, the Court rules that:

I) The results of the Pirate Parties International 2012 General Assembly Conference are valid,

II) The Statute amendments passed at the conference are valid,

IIIa) The Board members elections are valid,

IIIb) The Board alternates elections are valid,

IIIc) The Court of Arbitration elections are valid, and

IV) The default method of voting by the General Assembly is dependent on the rules of procedure adopted at each conference. In the case of the 2012 Conference it should have been a public ballot.


This ruling took a long time to produce, and the Court of Arbitration wishes to apologise for this. However, given the nature of the query, the Court feels that it was necessary to deliberate on this matter extensively, particularly as several complaints arrived in short succession.


The Court of Arbitration recommends that the General Assembly promptly adopts its rules of procedure, not only for future conferences but also for other meetings and proceeding of the General Assembly. These rules of procedure should be able to be amended at each meeting of the General Assembly.

The Court of Arbitration also recommends that the General Assembly amends the Statutes as promptly as possible to explicitly state whether voting should be public or secret, including any necessary exceptions to this.