Socialist International to elect its President in Athens in January

21 November 2005

The Socialist International, the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties, will elect its President at the upcoming meeting of its Council to be held in Athens on 30-31 January 2006.

The election of the President will complete a process that began last June when the Presidium of the Socialist International appointed a Commission with the responsibility to receive and consider candidatures for the office. The Commission, which included leaders of SI member parties from each region of the world and was chaired by SI Vice-President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, reported back with the name of George A. Papandreou, the leader of the SI member party in Greece, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK, as candidate for President of Socialist International, which will be voted upon by all the member parties of the organisation in Athens.

The two-day Council meeting in Athens, to be hosted by PASOK, will be attended by leaders and representatives from member parties of the Socialist International from all continents to address current key issues on the international agenda.

The Socialist International, whose origins go back to the early international organisations of the labour movement, has existed in its present form since 1951 and today brings together 161 political parties and organisations from all regions, including 31 parties from Africa, 38 from the Americas, 20 from Asia and the Pacific, 30 from the European Union and 29 from other parts of Europe, 3 fraternal organisations and 10 associated organisations.

The activities of the International around the world focus today on advancing and strengthening democracy, supporting the peaceful resolution of conflicts, securing a democratic and fair global governance, guaranteeing respect for human rights, achieving social justice and gender equality and promoting sustainable development. The building of consensus views and the development of common platforms for action on global and regional issues of concern to the social democratic movement are central to the work of the International, through an extensive programme of activities, which include those of various regional and thematic committees, specialised working groups, the holding of conferences and special meetings on specific themes, the sending of missions and delegations to further its policies and objectives, as well as other initiatives.

Currently, 56 member parties of the International are in government in different parts of the world, while other member parties constitute today the main alternative of government in a number of countries.