CITIDEP

Research Center on Information Technologies and Participatory Democracy

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CONSTITUTION


General Principles | Membership | Organization | Funding | Other


CHAPTER I


General Principles

Article 1. CITIDEP, hereafter referred as "the Center," is established indefinitely as a private, non-profit scientific and technological organization, to foster citizenship, preserve our heritage, and protect the environment, through sustainable development, and is to be governed by the present Constitution, by applicable laws, and by the Center's own internal bylaws.

Article 2. The Center will operate with headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal at Rua Tristão Vaz, 10 - 5 E, 1400 Lisboa, therefore within the European Union, but not exclusively.

Article 3. The Center may constitute delegations in other regions and countries, both inside and outside of the European Union, and establish associations and affiliations with other national and international organizations and federations with similar goals.

Article 4. The Center has as its primary objectives to foster citizenship, preserve our heritage, and protect the environment, studying and promoting processes of participatory democracy, especially through: a) the research and development of new information technologies and political, administrative and planning frameworks that facilitate these processes; b) the organization, management, and rendering of services and products related to its social objectives, in Portugal and other countries; and c) the representation of its members and all necessary logistical support systems within national, European Union, and international contexts.

 

Article 5. For the purpose of pursuing its objectives, the Center proposes to:

a) Organize and develop disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary studies and research projects;
 
b) Offer grants for research and study, including for masters and doctoral study, and host and orient grantees of the Center itself or other institutions;
 
c) Collaborate with educational institutions to develop new curriculum materials on these issues;
 
d) Sponsor and collaborate with other scientific institutions in the holding of colloquia, conferences, and seminars, with the aim of fostering debate and furthering knowledge on these issues;
 
e) Promote and collaborate in training activities;
 
f) Constitute a Documentation Center, with access to international computer networks;
 
g) Contribute to research and development of computer-based tools in support of participatory democracy;
 
h) Inform public opinion and raise public awareness, through its own publications, including those with international circulation, and through the general mass media;
 
i) Provide services that help to promote participatory democracy, as well as related research and development activities;
 
j) Promote and collaborate in initiatives that lead to legislative reform in the area of new technologies and participatory democracy;
 
k) Collaborate with public institutions, such as national, regional and local administrations and parliaments, as well federative multinational institutions such as the European Parliament, United Nations, and others;
 
l) Support individual citizens and citizens' groups in processes of public consultation, namely in the evaluation of environmental impact studies and of master plans.


CHAPTER II

On membership

 

Article 6. Categories of Members:

 

1. Membership is open to all people, whether individuals or groups, who identify with the aims of the Center and accept the present Constitution.

2. The Center has four categories of members: Founding, Active, Associate and Honorary.

3. Founding members are individuals who have participated actively in creating and establishing the Center, do not hold any positions of active political / associative leadership at the time the Center is established, and subscribed the present Constitution at the Founding General Assembly.

4. Active members are individuals or groups who, collaborating regularly in the activities of the Center and fulfilling all the duties defined in the Constitution and the internal bylaws, are recognized as members by the Center, and thus enjoy full rights of membership.

5. Honorary members are individuals or groups who are accepted as such by the Center, given their recognized merit, competence, and prestige in areas related to the objectives of the Center.

6. Associate members are individuals or groups who identify with the goals of the Center, and who the Center may decide to admit as candidates to become Active members.

7. Founding members enjoy all the privileges given by this Constitution to Active members, plus those privileges inherent to them as special supporters in the pursuit of the goals of the Center. The loss of membership, even if temporary, implies the loss of status as Founding member.

8. Associate and Honorary members enjoy the right to participate in all aspects of the activities of the Center, without having, however, the right to vote, to be elected to office, or to call a meeting of the General Assembly (GA).

 

Article 7. Admission, discharge, and exclusion of members

 

1. All members are admitted as Associate or Honorary members. The change of status to Active member, at the request of the member, can only take place six months after the date of admission, with the exception only of members who join the Center before the first GA after the Founding Assembly.

2. Admission and dismissal of members, as well as the approving change of status from Associate to Active member, is the responsibility of the Executive Committee, acting by qualified majority vote.

3. The decisions of the Executive Committee on admission, refusal of admission, or exclusion, can be appealed within a period of ten days to the GA, which will meet expressly for the purpose of considering the appeal.

4. Any decisions of the General Assembly on such an appeal must be approved by a majority of three quarters of the voting members present.

5. Proposals for admission of new members must be presented by two Active or Founding members of the Center, including the presentation of a Curriculum Vitae, and be submitted for the approval of the Executive Committee, under the terms of Section 1 and 2 of this Article, in a meeting convened expressly for that purpose.

6. Voluntary resignations of members should be presented through written notification to the Executive Committee and will take immediate effect on the date of receipt. Founding members have the right to request, in their written notification, that notice of their resignation be appended to any circulating official document of the Center bearing their names.

 

Article 8. The members of the Center have the right to:

 

a) participate in the meetings of the General Assembly;

b) if Active or Founding members, elect officers, and be elected or named to offices of the Center;

c) if Active or Founding members, petition for a special meeting of the General Assembly under the terms defined in Article 13;

d) participate in the activities, initiatives, and projects of the Center.

 

Article 9. The duties of members are:

 

a) to pay dues on schedule;

b) to responsibly fulfill the duties of whatever offices they are elected or named to within the Center;

c) to collaborate in the activities, initiatives, and projects for which they have assumed responsibility.

 

Article 10. In order to be able to exercise their rights, members need to be current in payment of their dues.

 

Article 11. Members may be dismissed for not complying with their duties, for damaging the reputation or prestige of the Center, or, for those with voting rights, for missing two consecutive GA meetings called to amend the Constitution


CHAPTER III

On the governing bodies

 

Article 12. The governing bodies of the Center are:

 

a) The General Assembly

b) The Executive Committee

c) The Coordinating Committee

d The Fiscal Council

e) The Scientific Committee

e) The Socio-Economic Advisory Committee

 

Article 13. The General Assembly

 

1. The General Assembly is composed of all members of the Center, and decisions are taken based on a simple majority of all members with voting privileges, except in cases specified by law and this Constitution.

2. Only Active and Founding members are eligible to vote and hold office in the Center, but Honorary and Associate members may actively participate in the GA.

3. Each Active member has the right to one vote and each Founding member has the right to ten votes.

4. The General Assembly will normally meet once each year, at a date determined by the internal bylaws, to: review, discuss and approve reports and financial records from previous year; elect officers of the Center; take notice of the admission and dismissal of members; discuss and approve the budget and plan of activities for the following year; and, set the level of membership dues.

5. It is also the prerogative of the General Assembly to deliberate, if necessary, the termination of the Center, under the terms of Article 23.

6. The General Assembly will meet for special sessions when summoned by the President at the request of the Executive Committee or the Fiscal Council, or at the request of at least one fourth of the members with voting privileges.

7. In case of the resignation of the Executive Committee or the majority of its members, the General Assembly must meet to hold new elections within three months of the date of resignation, and must be notified of the meeting for such at least one month in advance.

8. The General Assembly is presided over by the President and two secretaries, elected in a regular session of the General Assembly by secret ballot, for a term of two years.

9. The General Assembly can only meet, under a first notice, in the presence of half plus one of its members with voting privileges; if this quorum is not met, the Assembly can meet one hour later, with any number of members.

10. Considering the international environment in which the Center operates, permission is granted for:

a) Remote direct participation, in person, as long as it is bi-directional and in real time, through tele- or video-conference or equivalent, after proper identification of the remote participant is established by the General Assembly presiding body;
 
b) Vote by correspondence or proxy, in case of residency in a country other than that where the General Assembly is held, except in cases where counter proposals are submitted while the General Assembly is in session.

 

Article 14. The Executive Committee

 

1. The Executive Committee is composed of three or five officers, with a President, Vice-President, and a Treasurer, and possibly two secretaries, elected by secret ballot for a term of two years by the General Assembly.

2. The duties of the Executive Committee are:

a) To represent the Center in all formal or legal proceedings;
 
b) To develop the plan of activities for the Center and submit it for the approval of the General Assembly;
 
c) To prepare financial report and records for submission to, and approval by, the General Assembly;
 
d) To admit, dismiss, and change the category of members;
 
e) To create or dissolve regional or national delegations, in the areas of activity of the Center;
 
f) To change the location of the Center headquarters, regulate the terms of use, leasing and access of the headquarters, as well as to open or close new regional and national offices, under the terms of Articles 2 and 3 of this Constitution. In the event its office is not the property of the Center, there is no alienation by the Center of any property rights, and it is the responsibility of the Executive Committee to respect, and enforce the respect of, the will and the rights of the owner, whether or not a member of the Center, on the use and leasing of its property;
 
g) To employ and dismiss personnel, regulating the terms and conditions of employment and exercising powers of evaluation and supervision over employees;
 
h) To manage and dispose of Center property, after consulting the Fiscal Council;
 
i) To perform the general duties inherent in managing the Center.

 

3. Only the Executive Committee, as represented by one or more of its members, or members with powers delegated by the Executive Committee for such reason, can publicly assume positions or emit opinions and judgments in the name of the Center.

4. The President should possess, as a minimal academic qualification, a masters or doctoral degree, and preside over the Scientific Committee.

5. The Executive Committee will meet at least every three months, taking decisions by a simple majority vote, except in cases determined by this Constitution, with the President having an extra deciding vote, in the case of a tie.

 

Article 15. Coordinating Committee

 

1. The Coordinating Committee is composed of all and only those members who are currently and actively responsible for any project or activity approved by the Center, or who are representing a regional or national delegation recognized by the Center. By the nature of their duties, members of the Executive Committee are also members of the Coordinating Committee.

2. The Coordinating Committee acts in support of the Executive Committee, and has the following duties:

a) To support and advise the Executive Committee on its current activities;
 
b) To manage and coordinate projects of the Center or in which the Center is involved, within the framework of the plan of activities approved by the General Assembly;
 
c) Coordinate and promote the activities of regional and national offices of the Center;
 
d) Manage the use of current resources and infrastructure of the Center;
 
e) Manage the archives and the publications of the Center, in particular the internal newsletter;
 
f) Manage and promote the offering of services by the Center.

 

3. The Coordinating Committee will meet at the request of the Executive Committee or of four members of the Coordinating Committee, with decisions taken by simple majority vote, except in cases specified in this Constitution, and with the President of the Executive Committee having an extra deciding vote in case of a tie.

4. Members maintain their status as members of the Coordinating Committee, with the respective right to vote, only while being actively responsible for any of the delegations, or in any projects or tasks of the Center. The status of member of the Coordinating Committee can, consequently, be acquired, lost or re acquired at any moment, without term limits.

5. Given the non-elected nature of the Coordinating Committee, Associate and Honorary members may belong to the Coordinating Committee, as all other members, under the terms of sections 1, 3, and 4 of this article.

6. In case of conflict over the status of member of the Coordinating Committee, or between a decision of the Coordinating Committee and a decision of the Executive Committee, the decision of the Executive Committee prevails.

 

Article 16. Fiscal Council

 

1. The Fiscal Council is composed of one or three officers, with a President, and possibly two secretaries, elected together in a regular session of the General Assembly, by secret ballot, and for a term of two years.

2. The Fiscal Council has the responsibility to review the financial implications of the actions of the Executive Committee and, in particular, to provide the General Assembly with their judgment on the fiscal report and accounting documents prepared by the Executive Committee.

3. The members of the Fiscal Council may attend the meetings of the Executive Committee at any time deemed necessary.

 

Article 17. Scientific Committee

 

1. The Scientific Committee is composed of member researchers of the Center and of other persons with recognized competence in the areas of social science and humanities, environmental science, and information technology, who are, for this purpose, specifically invited by the President of the Executive Committee, upon consultation of the Executive Committee.

2. The Scientific Committee acts in support of, and under the direct supervision of, the President, and has as its responsibilities:

a) To collaborate in the development of the plan of activities and present/review research projects and educational/training activities of the Center;
 
b) To review scientific articles to appear in the publications of the Center or under its name;
 
c) To offer opinions and advice on all materials submitted to it by the Executive Committee or by the President.

 

3. Whatever public positions the Center might take on scientific matters should be preceded by consultation of the Scientific Committee.

4. The Scientific Committee will meet whenever judged necessary or when called upon by the President.

 

Article 18. Socio-Economic Advisory Committee

 

1. The Socio-Economic Advisory Committee serves in an advisory capacity, and is composed of representatives of businesses and of social institutions related to the activities of the Center, who are invited to participate by the Executive Committee.

2. The Socio-Economic Advisory Committee will advise and support the Executive Committee, having among its responsibilities:

a) To collaborate with the Executive Committee in furthering the plan of activities of the Center;
 
b) To offer advice and participate in the discussion of all matters of interest to the Center.

 

3. The Socio-Economic Advisory Committee will meet whenever judged necessary or when convened by the Executive Committee.


CHAPTER IV

On funding

 

Article 19. The funding of the Center derives from:

a) the dues paid by members;
 
b) subsidies, bequests and donations of which the Center is the beneficiary;
 
c) receipts from the sale of publications, including publication royalties donated by authors to the Center;
 
d) revenues resulting from other activities performed by the Center;
 
e) fees received for services offered by the Center;
 
f) sale or leasing of property belonging to the Center.

 


CHAPTER V

On final arrangements

 

Article 20. This Constitution can be altered only by the deliberation of the General Assembly, in a meeting expressly convened for this purpose, with a minimum advance notice of two months, and by a qualified majority vote of three-fourths of those members eligible to vote.

 

Article 21. The General Assembly will approve internal bylaws to organize and regulate the activities of the Center, reinforcing this Constitution and interpreting its application to particular matters not specifically covered by it.

 

Article 22. Matters not provided for by the Constitution or the bylaws will be regulated by the Executive Committee, with decisions taken by simple majority, in accordance with applicable current legislation, and upon consultation of the Fiscal Council.

 

Article 23. The Center may dissolve itself, under proposal of the Executive Committee, by a majority of three-fourths of the votes of members with voting privileges, in a meeting of the General Assembly expressly called for this purpose, with an advance notice of at least two months. A proposal for dissolution must provide for the election of a liquidation committee, define the duties of such a committee, and specify the disposition of any Center assets that may exist.


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