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Election news – the open source angle 1

On 14th October, Belgium goes to the polls for local council and provincial elections.

Joinup, the EU’s open source news website, reports that 278 election candidates have so far pledged their support for free and open source software.

The pledges were garnered in a grass roots campaign comprising just 2 people who have been contacting election candidates.”So far, 3 political parties – the Socialist Party, Ecolo and Mouvement Réformateur – have promised me their general support”, says Nicolas Pettiaux, one of two volunteers involved. Nevertheless, Pettiaux admits that several hundred more candidates remain to be contacted and declares that he would appreciate some more voluntary help.

The most recent political candidates to have signed the pact are Rudy Demotte (Socialist Party for the municipality of Hainaut), Antoine Tanzilli (Centre Démocrate Humaniste, in the city of Charleroi) and Gwénaëlle Grovonius (Socialist Party for the municipality of Namur).

Until now, most of the support for this campaign comes from the Ecolo party and the Centre Démocrate Humaniste, both with 97 signatures, followed by the Socialist Party, with 44 signatories.

The current Belgian campaign is similar to the ‘Free Software Pact’ campaign organised around the recent elections in France by April, a French advocacy organisation. In Belgium, the candidates are being asked to sign either or all of three pacts on free data, on a free internet and free software.

As in France, Petiaux and his companion are using the free and open source Grassroot Platform Technology (GPA) package to maintain lists of those candidates that have signed up.


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