20Plan de travail 42

Let’s strengthen internal democracy within our association

Dear fellow Lions,

Lions are equal in rights and duties. As proof of this equality, all Lions pay the same membership fees, ie entrance fees and monthly dues. All Clubs are established on the same basic rules, the international bylaws, so they are equal in the same way as the lions that compose them. This equality should cover the access to responsibilities at all levels of the association.

In fact, if access to responsibilities at club level does indeed obey democratic rules, this does not really seem to be the case for the choice of international officials.

At the district level, clubs participate fully in the choices of the officials because for several years now, a general trend has spread for the establishment of democratic and transparent rules for the choice of Governors.


At the international level, basic Lions do not understand why the procedures for choosing candidates for the position of International Director or the position of 3rd International Vice-President are not more democratic.

However, a certain form of indirect democracy is respected in the selection of international directors.

Candidates who represent a constitutional area submit to a primary within their constitutional area of origin before standing for the votes of the members of the association gathered in international convention. At this level, rotation formulas in place allow indirect consultation of the clubs through their representatives at the level of the constitutional areas.

This does not apply for the choosing candidates for the position of 3rd International Vice-President. A college of former presidents or international directors representing each of the constitutional areas is constituted with the aim of designating an “official” candidate for this position without seeking any opinion from the candidates’ constitutional areas.

This amounts to granting Lions greater rights than those of other lions, simply by having led the association at the highest level, when this choice should be up to the lions of the constitutional area to which the candidates belong. This is a principle that is not in line with all the rules of democracy in the world. This practice, even enshrined in international texts, is very similar to a form of “democratic centralism” historically institutionalized by political parties of communist obedience.

In some congregations or religious denominations, the practice of choosing the supreme leader is almost similar. For example, within the Catholic Church, the choice of the pope is made by a college of electors without involving the faithful who constitute the basis of the church.

Is it this centralizing logic that we want to keep for our association? The answer can only be NO.


The introduction of remote or proxy voting is a third element on which it is becoming urgent to decide. This concern takes on a particular connotation today with the visa refusals of which a significant part of the Lions are victims.

Not taking this issue into consideration and at heart is tantamount to accepting the creation of a two-tier lionism within our association: those who can go to the international convention and participate in the major choices of the association and the others, members of clubs that do not have the possibility to send delegates physically to the international convention and whose voice is not considered.

It goes without saying that our association must evolve on these points and turn its back on practices that have the consequence of denying the right of Lions to participate in the major choices of their association.

These practices do not convey the values of democracy and are contrary to the spirit of the fundamental texts of our association. They can partly explain the disaffection with Lions International and the loss of our members.

We want to change the world, but how can we change the world if we don’t change ourselves first?

We are accustomed to saying that we must lead by example. Can allowing an abnormal, or even totally outdated, method of appointing the leaders of our association to persist really contribute to changing the world?

So it’s clear that our association is at a crossroads if we want to attract more Lions, more hands to serve. We therefore need to make another change by strengthening the internal democracy within the association.

We are not a company; we are not a church. We are an association of men and women with equal rights and duties. We must therefore align the internal life of our association with rules that eliminate any inequality of fact or law between its members.
It is certainly easy to apply democratic principles within the club, the zone and even the district because everyone knows each other. It is more difficult in multiple districts and at the international level. But this is precisely where democracy is important.

The candidacy of the PDI Alexis Vincent Gomès carried by the Constitutional Area 8 Africa is a breakthrough candidacy that aims to promote more democracy within our association. It questions the essence of our internal democracy, the foundation of its future.

Democracy is the power of the people, of the basic members. It always works from the bottom up. The rules governing candidacy and elections to international positions must be urgently reviewed and changed. This is what PID Alexis Vincent Gomès invites us to, it is in this direction that we must go, so that the sun continues to shine for everyone within Lions International.

GAT Area Leader RC8 A

LCIF Area Leader RC8
Council Chairman




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