1. The Liberal International is an association of parties, groups, cooperating organisations and individuals from countries throughout the world who support Liberal principles and who accept the Liberal Manifesto of 1947, the Declaration of Oxford of 1967 and the Liberal Appeal of Rome of 1981, hereafter called the basic documents of the Liberal International.
2. Its purpose is to win general acceptance of Liberal principles which are international in their nature throughout the world, and to foster the growth of a free society based on personal liberty, personal responsibility and social justice, and to provide the means of co-operation and interchange of information between the member organisations, and between men and women of all countries who accept these principles.
3. The following will constitute the executive bodies of the Liberal International:
The Executive Committee
A. Member Organisations
4. Membership shall be open to national political parties that accept the basic documents of Liberal International. Membership shall also be open to recognised international organisations of Liberal parliamentarians, to an international liberal youth organisation and to an international women’s organisation which accept the basic documents. In special circumstances membership can be granted to groups that are not political parties, provided they accept the basic documents; however an affiliated party that ceases to operate as a political party and becomes a group has to re-apply.
5. Membership of the Liberal International is incompatible with membership of other political internationals. In special circumstances regional branches of such political parties can apply for membership as a group, as in paragraph 4.
6. It is desirable that in each country where there is a political party recognised by the Liberal International any member organisation in that country should maintain a close relationship with it.
7. Each member organisation shall file a copy of its constitution with the Permanent Secretariat.
8. The Executive Committee shall by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting decide whether or not an application for affiliation, proposed by the Bureau, shall be accepted. This decision shall be reported for confirmation to the next following meeting of the Congress, for which confirmation of a two-thirds majority of the votes cast is required.
9. The Executive Committee shall have power, by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting, to suspend from 1 to a maximum of 3 years, any member organisation which it considers does not adequately represent Liberal opinion in its country or which has lost the electoral support and political relevance required to be a meaningful representative of Liberal opinion. The Secretary General will report to the Bureau and the Executive Committee if such a situation appears to exist. The Executive Committee shall decide the conditions of the suspension.
The Executive Committee can with the same procedure disaffiliate a member organisation. Such a procedure can also be started during a suspension period. At least two months’ notice of intention to propose disaffiliation shall be given to the member organisation concerned. This decision shall come into effect immediately on a provisional basis and shall be reported for confirmation to the next following meeting of the Congress. The same procedures should apply for any member organisation which by October 1st of the current year has not paid its subscription for the current year and for the year before. If a party has ceased to exist or has resigned its status, disaffiliation will be automatically enforced by the Bureau subject to ratification by the Executive Committee by a simple majority.
10. When a country is already represented by a national political party a second member organisation from that country may not be affiliated except with the written consent of that national political party. When such consent is not given, the Executive Committee can decide by a three-quarters majority of those present and voting whether or not this application for affiliation should be accepted. This decision shall be reported for confirmation to the next following meeting of the Congress, for which confirmation of a three-quarters majority of the votes is required.
11. The affiliation of the second member organisation from any country will entitle that member organisation to representation on the Executive Committee and Congress based on the allotment of votes under 18b.
12. A third, and further member organisation from any one country may be affiliated on the same terms as a second member organisation.
B. Individual Membership
13. In extraordinary circumstances individual members, proposed by the Bureau, may join the Liberal International on the following terms:
(a) The minimum annual subscription shall be fixed by the Executive Committee;
(b) Individual members shall be entitled to attend the annual Congress as non-voting delegates. They shall not be entitled to vote unless they are appointed as delegates by a member organisation;
(c) Individual members shall receive free of charge all regular publications of the organisation and shall share in any services which the organisation may provide for members of member organisations,
(d) No Individual member shall be enrolled without the consent of the member organisation of the same country and of the Executive Committee.
C. Observer Organisations
14. A political party or other organisation that is in sympathy with the principles of the basic documents may be granted observer status for a period of three years. Before the end of two consecutive three year periods the observer organisation should have applied for Membership. If this does not happen the affiliation of the organisation ceases immediately. In special circumstances observer status can be granted to groups that are not political parties, provided they accept the basic documents; however an affiliated party that ceases to operate as a political party and becomes a group has to re-apply. The procedure of articles 7-9 applies. If the consent of the national political party is not given, the procedure of article 10 applies. Observer organisations have the right of representation but in no case the right to vote.
D. Cooperating Organisations
15. Political Institutes or other organisations that do not operate as a political party can join the Liberal International as Co-operating organisation. This status can be granted, on proposal by the Bureau, by the Executive Committee by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. Co-operating organisations have the right of representation but in no case the right to vote.
16. The Congress:
(a) Shall be the prime legislative body of the organisation, and shall have the power to direct the policy of the organisation.
(b) Unless otherwise provided for in the Articles of the Constitution, decisions of the Congress shall be taken with a simple majority of the votes cast. Abstentions shall not be taken into account and, in the case of a written vote, blank and invalid votes shall not be counted in the votes cast. In the case of a tie vote, the decision will be rejected. Split votes are admissible.
17. The Congress shall meet at least once every two years.
18. The Congress shall consist of:
(a) The Officers, who shall be:
The President(s) of Honour
The Deputy President
The immediate Past President
Up to two Treasurers
Each full member party, group or cooperating organisation has the right to nominate one vice-president
(b) A maximum number of voting delegates equal to their amount of votes nominated by each member organisation.
Votes per party or group delegation as follows:
(i) a basic number of five votes;
(ii) in addition, one vote for each 100.000 votes or a major part thereof, cast for that party at the last general election, up to a maximum number of 20 additional votes the total number of votes is subject to the agreement on the amount of the supplementary sum the party will annually pay as a membership fee, as per article 42.
Observer organisations will each have up to a maximum of 3 non-voting delegates.
(c) Up to ten delegates nominated by the international liberal youth organisation, having a total number of twenty votes
(d) Up to ten delegates nominated by each recognised international organisation of Liberal parliamentarians, each organisation having ten votes.
(e) Up to ten delegates nominated by the international Liberal women’s organisation, having a total number of twenty votes
19. In order to qualify for representation any organisation above must have paid its subscription for the current year and the previous year.
20. Standing orders for the conduct of the Congress shall be prepared by the Executive Committee and approved by the Congress.
21. The President shall be elected by the Congress for the period until the next Congress, and shall be eligible for re-election except that no President shall serve for more than three consecutive terms unless no other candidate shall be proposed for the office of President. The same procedure applies for the election and term of the Deputy President.
22. The Vice Presidents and the Treasurers shall be elected by the Congress for the period until the next Congress, and shall be eligible for re-election. No Treasurer or Vice President on the Bureau shall serve in that capacity for more than three consecutive terms.
23. In the event of any of the above Officers retiring during his/her term of office the vacancy shall be filled by election by the Congress immediately following. When the Executive Committee feels it is required it can appoint an above mentioned officer on a temporarily basis until the next Congress.
24. The Executive Committee shall consist of:
(a) the Officers as described in 18(a);
(b) one delegate per member organisation, plus one additional delegate for parties that were entitled to 15 votes or more at the most recent Congress;
(c) two delegates nominated by the international Liberal youth organisation;
(d) one delegate for each recognised international organisation of Liberal parliamentarians
(e) two delegates nominated by the international Liberal women’s organisation.
25. On invitation by the Executive Committee each observer or cooperating organisation can be represented by one delegate, who will have the right to speak but not to vote.
26. The Chairman of the Executive Committee shall be the President or, if he/she is unable to attend the Deputy President or, one of the Vice-Presidents.
27. The delegates enumerated under article 24(b) to (e) shall be appointed by the member organisations for one year. Member organisations may appoint deputy delegates. If the deputy replaces the delegate at the meeting prior notice of this should be given to the Secretariat.
28. The Executive Committee may co-opt up to two Liberals of international reputation who have not been appointed by any member organisation.
29. The Executive Committee shall meet at least two times a year. So far as possible no two succeeding meetings should be held in any one country.
30. The Executive Committee shall:
(a) Be responsible for the supervision of the work of the organisation between meetings of the Congress and shall be entitled to pass policy resolutions and to initiate fresh activities. It will also be responsible for all financial matters.
(b) Unless otherwise provided for in the Articles of the Constitution, decisions of the Executive Committee shall be taken with a simple majority of the votes cast. Abstentions shall not be taken into account and, in the case of a written vote, blank and invalid votes shall not be counted in the votes cast. In the case of a tie vote, the decision will be rejected. Split votes are admissible.
31. The Executive Committee can appoint special sub-committees for dealing with problems of its organisation, the planning of its activities or for treating political subjects of common interest to the Liberal International member parties. The chairman and members of such sub-committees shall be appointed by the Executive Committee and they shall report back to the Executive Committee.
32. The Executive Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure and those for the Bureau, the Treasurers and the permanent secretariat.
33. The Bureau shall consist of:
– The President(s) of Honour;
– The President;
* The immediate Past President;
– The Deputy President;
– Up to six of the Vice Presidents elected by the Congress for the period until the next Congress;
– The Secretary-General;
– The Treasurers.
If after elections to the Bureau at least one member of the Bureau (not including the Secretary General) does not come from each of the following regions – Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America – the Executive Committee may, after consultation with the member parties in that region, invite a non-voting observer from a member party in the region to attend meetings of the Bureau.
34. The Bureau shall:
(a) Be responsible for all administrative and financial matters, and shall report on them and present them for confirmation to the Executive Committee at least once a year.
(b) Unless otherwise provided for in the Articles of the Constitution, decisions of the Bureau shall be taken with a simple majority of the votes cast. Abstentions shall not be taken into account and, in the case of a written vote, blank and invalid votes shall not be counted in the votes cast. In the case of a tie vote, the decision will be rejected.
35. The Bureau shall be responsible for all political matters arising between meetings of the Executive Committee. The Bureau can make public statements on political matters if in its opinion this is necessary. It will submit a written report of its meeting within 30 days to the Executive Committee. This report will be discussed for approval in the next meeting of the Executive Committee.
36. The Bureau can, on the proposal of the member parties and the members of the Bureau, award LI Decoration ‘Medal of Liberalism’ to persons who have been dedicated to promoting Liberalism on local, national, regional or international level for a long time. The Bureau reports back to the Executive Committee on its decision to award LI Decoration.
37. The Congress can, on the proposal of the Executive Committee, appoint a former President of very outstanding merits to Liberalism and to the Liberal International as a President of Honour.
38. The Congress can, on the proposal of the Executive Committee, appoint persons who have been for a long time active in thought and deed in Liberalism and in the Liberal International as patrons. Patrons have the right to be present and speak at the meetings of the Executive Committee and of the Congress. At the Congress they have the personal right to vote.
39. The head of the Permanent Secretariat shall be the Secretary-General, who shall be the employee of the organisation. He/she shall on proposal by the Bureau be appointed by the Executive Committee, and his /her appointment shall be confirmed by the Congress at its next meeting, for the period until the next Congress. He shall be eligible for re-appointment by the Congress, based on proposal of the Bureau, except that no Secretary General shall serve for more than three consecutive terms unless no other candidate shall be proposed for the post of Secretary General.
40. The Secretary-General shall appoint his/her own staff with the consent of the Bureau.
41. The Headquarters of the organisation shall be in the country selected by the Executive Committee. It is desirable that it should not be moved from one country to another at less than five year intervals.
42. The Secretary-General shall present a report on the activities of the Liberal International to the Congress.
43. The minimum annual subscription of any member organisation and of any observer organisation shall be fixed by the Executive Committee. Each member organisation and observer organisation will pay a supplementary sum in accordance with its size. The amount of the supplementary sum will be decided annually by agreement with the member organisation and observer organisation concerned. The annual subscription is due on the first of January of each year.
44. The organisation may open banking accounts in all affiliated countries. Its main account shall be held in the country in which the Permanent Secretariat is located. Any two of the following shall be entitled to operate or delegate to any Officer or to the Secretary-General the right to operate accounts: the Treasurers and the Secretary-General.
45. The financial year of the organisation shall run from January 1st to December 31st. Accounts shall be audited by a Chartered Accountant at the end of each financial year and shall be presented for approval to the next following meeting of the Executive Committee.
46. Amendments to this Constitution shall be made by the Congress on the proposal of: the Bureau to the Executive Committee, which will decide by a simple majority; or any member organisation. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting shall be necessary.
47. At least 10 weeks notice of intention to propose such an amendment must be given to the member organisations. Debate and voting on proposals for amendments should be held in the Administrative Session and changes to the constitution become operative immediately after the Congress.
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Further information pertaining to the procedures and timelines related to resolutions during statutory events can be found in Liberal International’s standing orders.