Of all the politicians newly elected in France's municipal elections 143 have pledged their support for free software. The new councillors signed the Free Software Pact, a support campaign organised by April, an advocacy group. Signatories include the mayor of the city of Dijon, François Rebsamen, appointed Minister for Employment in France's new government on 2 April.
In the first round of the municipal elections, on 23 March, already 49 of the pro-free software candidates were elected councillors. In the second round, on 30 March, another 94 were elected councillor. In total 285 candidates participating in the elections signed April's Free Software Pact. More than 80 volunteers helped the advocacy group to contact candidates, informing them about the importance of free software and requesting them to sign the pact.
"The campaign was a success", comments Jeanne Tadeusz, public affairs officer at April. "We managed to get a good number of candidates to sign, but most importantly many more candidates were informed about free software, many new volunteers got involved, and many signatories are now planning on using and developing free software in their municipalities."
The advocacy group is now focussing on the European elections, taking place next month. Its campaign website was refreshed on 24 April, with an initial list of 17 European candidates. Among the first to sign are three members of the European Parliament, Christian Engström, (Sweden, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance), Patrizia Toia (Italy, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) and Marisa Matias (Portugal, Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left).
April's campaign focussing on the European election is supported by advocacy groups in other EU member states, including the Italian Assoli, Spain's Hispalinux, Latvia's LATA, Slovenia's SOIK and the pan-European FSF and FSFE. The campaign this year also invites citizens to sign the pact, to show they use free software and that they want it to be promoted by politicians.
April began campaigning on political candidates during the 2007 elections, during which the advocacy group managed to get the four leading French presidential candidates to make statements on free software. In 2009, April joined forces with Assoli and Hispalinux and free software enthusiasts from all over Europe, to create the first European-wide campaign to get political candidates to support free software.