Pirate Party UK Constitution
Constitution of the Pirate Party UK
The official name of the organisation (“the Party”) shall be “Pirate Party UK” (“PPUK”).
The principal aim of the Party is to reform the laws of the United Kingdom and European Union in a manner consistent with its Principles.
The Party shall act with the consent of its Members and in a manner consistent with the following Principles: Society is built upon the sharing of knowledge, ideas and culture, furthered by freedom of thought and expression, and protected by the rule of law.
Human dignity is inviolable. Everyone has a right to life, freedom of thought, self determination, and participation in society.
Everyone is equal under the law. Everyone should have a say in the structure and processes of governance and the right to know what is done on their behalf.
Respect for everyone’s private and family life by government and society is fundamental and everyone has a freedom of choice in their associations and relationships.
To be free to participate in society everyone must have access to justice, education and such services and infrastructure required for life within it.
To ensure the security of society it is the responsibility of the government to provide for its defence, the mechanisms of justice and such services and infrastructure required to meet its needs.
The Party shall act on the basis of evidence, with the consent of society through democracy, in the interests of all.
The Party shall take part in democratic electoral processes. It intends to contest Westminster and European parliamentary elections, local elections, etc.
In the furtherance of its aims, the Party may:
raise funds and invite and receive contributions within the limits established by electoral law;
invest any monies of the Party not immediately required, in accordance with the Trustee Act of 1925 and;
do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the attainment of the Party’s aims.
Membership is open to:
Citizens of the United Kingdom
Resident Foreign Nationals
those who posses a right to vote on behalf of the United Kingdom in Local, General and European elections
other Foreign Nationals at the discretion of the National Executive Committee (“NEC”)
who share the Party’s Aims.
Members shall not share membership with any organisation that has been declared to be incompatible with membership of the Party by the Board of Governors (“Board”).
Members must pay membership fees as set by the National Executive Committee (“NEC”), as described in Section 5.
Members shall not act in a manner which brings the party into disrepute or is likely to bring the party into disrepute. If a member is suspected of behaving in such a fashion he/she will be asked to explain their actions to a disciplinary committee formed by the Board of Governors (“Board”) as per the arbitration and disciplinary rules of Section 10.
Members appointed or elected to a position may be relieved of their title and responsibilities should the Board find them to be absent for a period exceeding 28 days without prior notice.
(5) THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The NEC shall be comprised of the Leader, Deputy Leader and at least three other elected officers with full voting rights and specific roles and responsibilities as outlined in the Code of Practice of the NEC.
The NEC can vote to appoint or remove non-voting members to the NEC as needed.
The working practices of the NEC shall be outlined in a separate Code of Practice to be maintained and published to members by the NEC.
Changes to the Code of Practice of the NEC shall be approved by a majority of the voting members of the NEC.
Elected officers’ membership of the NEC shall expire if their role is removed from the Code of Practice of the NEC.
Changes to the Code of Practice of the NEC shall come in to force one week after the NEC officially notifies the Board of the change, unless the Board lodges an official objection to the NEC in that one week period.
(6) FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS
The NEC shall designate a voting NEC member who is responsible to the party for the management of the party’s finances.
(7) DISSOLUTION OF THE PARTY
The party may be dissolved by a simple majority of members making clear their wish to dissolve the party. Any assets belonging to the party at the time of dissolution will be donated to a registered charity of the NEC’s choosing.
(8) THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS
The Board of Governors shall consist of up to 9 Governors.
The working practices of the Board shall be outlined in a separate Code of Practice to be maintained and published to members by the Board.
Changes to the Code of Practice of the Board shall be approved by a majority of the Governors.
The Board is responsible for proposing constitutional amendments and presenting them for ratification by a full vote of members at such times as they feel appropriate and as outlined by the Board’s Code of Practice.
Arbitration and Disciplinary Functions
The Board is the final body of arbitration, appeal, and discipline for the Party.
The Board will carry out its arbitration and disciplinary functions as detailed in Section 10.
The Board may empanel Oversight Committees to monitor and report to the membership on the operation of the party’s internal functions.
The Board shall empanel an Oversight Committee to monitor and report to the membership on the management of the party’s finances.
The Board may have other governance responsibilities that are as yet undefined in this constitution.
All elected national positions shall be elected using the ERS97 STV process.
Elections for voting NEC members shall return a single winner.
When an election is due, the NEC will announce the opening of nominations. Upon opening, the NEC will publish the date and time that nominations close. The duration of the nominations period must be no less than 14 days, and no more than 31 days. This duration may not be altered except as defined below.
Nominations will remain open indefinitely if no nominations are received. Should a nomination occur after this period nominations must remain open for a minimum of 14 days from the date of a nomination being made.
Open nominations must be announced by the NEC at least every 26 weeks.
Unless constitutionally indicated otherwise, members may nominate themselves as a candidate for election.
Nominated candidates must be Party members in Good Standing (as defined in Section 10).
All elected national positions require that candidates be seconded by a Party member in Good Standing.
Members may only second one candidate per position. Members may not second any candidates in any election they are contesting.
Campaigning opens to coincide with the closing of nominations. Should the opening of campaigning be delayed this additional time is to be considered an extension to the nomination period. Campaigning must remain open for no less than 7 days and normally no more than 31 days.
Voting must open to coincide with the closing of campaigning. Should the opening of voting be delayed this additional time is to be considered an extension to the campaigning period. Voting must remain open for no less than 7 days and normally no more than 31 days.
A member is excluded from standing for election and holding an elected position if they are not in Good Standing (as defined in Section 10).
Some elected positions exclude those that already hold another elected position. These exclusions are listed below.
Elected members of the NEC are excluded from holding the following positions: Governor, other positions within the NEC except with Board approval in exceptional circumstances, or unless required by law.
A Governor is excluded from holding the following positions: Any elected NEC position except with Board approval in exceptional circumstances, or unless required by law.
Elections must be held no less frequently than every 25 months for all positions on the NEC irrespective of how long each officer has been in post.
Elections must be held no less frequently than every 60 months for all positions on the Board irrespective of how long each Governor has been in post.
All party members in Good Standing (as defined in Section 10) are eligible to vote in all elections unless otherwise specified in this constitution.
When an elected position is vacant outside of the normal election terms an election process for the position will be held for the position following the rules in Section 9. These extra-ordinary procedures should ordinarily begin within 30 days of the position becoming vacant.
The NEC and Board are responsible for making sure all election and vote procedures are followed.
In single winner ERS97 STV elections, an additional “Re-Open Nominations” candidate will be included. If the ‘Re-Open Nominations’ candidate is elected, the election process will be immediately restarted.
In multiple winner ERS97 STV elections, an additional question will be included on the ballot paper: “Re-Open Nominations?”, with “Yes” or “No” as answers. If a simple majority of voters vote “Yes”, the election process will be immediately restarted.
Prior to initiating an election, the Board will appoint a neutral team of election monitors to ensure all elections proceed fairly. This team must contain someone who is neither a candidate standing for election, a member seconding a candidate, nor be currently serving on the Board or the NEC.
Administration and monitoring of the vote may not be undertaken by any official with a direct interest in participants of the election. This includes candidates, nominators and seconders of candidates. Any such official wishing to participate in the election as a candidate, a nominator, or a seconder, may do so by ensuring they have no officiating role in the election.
(10) ARBITRATION AND DISCIPLINE
If a member of the Party subsequently joins an organisation which the Board declares to be incompatible with membership of the Party, or if the member is found to be a member of such an organisation then the Board may revoke their membership of the Party without return of membership fees.
Votes of No Confidence
A vote of no confidence in any elected official will be triggered when either 10% or more of the fully paid-up membership or over 50% of the Governors make their desire for a vote of no confidence known to the Board.
When a vote of no confidence has been triggered the Board will arrange for a vote of party members to ascertain the confidence of the electorate in the elected official, which will conclude within at most 28 days. The officer will be dismissed if a simple majority of eligible members who take part in that vote, vote in favour of dismissal, subject to a quorum of 10% of eligible members.
Voting Eligibility for Votes of No Confidence
The eligibility of a member to vote in a particular vote of no confidence will be based upon whether that member would be eligible to vote for the election position as per rules in Section 9.
Disciplinary and Arbitration Panels
When a disciplinary or arbitration panel is formed, the Board will select 5 of the Governors (as per its code of practice) to sit on the panel.
A member is regarded as being in Good Standing if they are a paid up member and have not had their position of Good Standing stripped from them.
The constitution was formally adopted 12th July 2009. This is the text as amended 6th March 2017 following the member votes closing 13 March 2010, 12 March 2011, 21 November 2011, 7 February 2015 and 6 March 2017.