A new foreigners council comprised of 22 members, plus alternates, was elected on 8 July at the Ministry of Family and Integration by 49 electors (of the registered 55).
The national foreigners council is a consultative body with 15-22 members who serve a 3- to 5-year mandate. The group is charged by the government to look into issues impacting the international community, including integration, and consults on a range of issues of its own initiative as well. These issues can range from cross-border workers, education, refugees, gender equality, and more.
The day devoted to the election was scheduled from 9am until 4:30pm, when results were expected to be proclaimed, and candidates were invited to present themselves in just three minutes (reduced from the foreseen five minutes on the day due to the large number of candidates). Presentations focused on a range of issues, with some speaking out about mediation and language issues within the CNE, others focusing challenges with integration impacting certain communities, be they asylum-seekers, the business community, or various nationalities.
It was well past 5:30pm before all final votes were read aloud and recorded.
Portuguese members represent the largest nationality of the CNE, with three elected members--Mário Lobo, Marlène Martins Rodrigues and Vania Cardoso Martins--plus three alternates.
The next largest proportion of representation is given to the French with two members and two alternates. This year the elected members were Claire Geier-Courquin and Jean-Pierre Piersanti.
Additional European representation includes members (and their respective countries) as follows: Franco Avena (Italy), Christine Impens (Belgium), David Foka (Germany), William Lindsay Simpson (British), Henrika Maria Goslings-Kanters (Netherlands), Ivana Filipovic Schumacher (Croatia), Dana Antonia Moldoveanu-Brandes (Romania), Athanasios Karageorgiadis (Greece), Aleksandra Wrobel (Poland), Zsuzsa Várkonyi-Karsai (Hungary).
There were also seven seats up for grabs for countries outside the EU, with members including: Najlaa Mahboubi (Morocco), Munir Ramdedovic (Montenegro), Déborah Isabel Duarte Lima Barros (Cape Verde), Shaohui Zhang (China), Akil Vigani (Albania), Haythem Kamel Badawy (Egypt), and Henry Abner Surpless (U.S.).
A president and vice president will later be elected by CNE members on a majority basis.
For a full list which includes alternate members, visit the OLAI website.