MAY 29, 2008
So what is going to happen on Tuesday?
The FIA clubs are busy doing sums about who is for and who is against FIA President Max Mosley, with the aim being to try to figure out whether or not he will survive the confidence vote next Tuesday. It is extremely difficult to know for certain because many clubs are not saying what they intend to do. Others may not be telling the truth. It is FIA history now that when Jean-Marie Balestre was challenged for the presidency back in the early 1990s by Max Mosley, the Frenchman went into the meeting utterly convinced that he would win. A number of votes which had been promised switched sides and he was defeated.
One cannot predict such underhand behaviour but there are definitely other things that could affect the voting process. FIA clubs that have not paid their fees 30 days before the FIA General Assembly are not entitled to a vote. The identity of these clubs should be known in advance.
The actual voting is complicated because not all the clubs have the same number of votes. Clubs, associations and federations which cover the whole of the national territory and involve themselves in road traffic, touring, safety and motor sport are entitled to two votes, so long as the FIA has granted that body the sporting power in that country. Clubs which are not holders of the sporting power but fulfil the other criteria have one vote apiece and those which are exclusively involved in the sport also have one vote. All votes count because it affects both sides of the federation.
In a few cases there are countries which have more than one club in a specific discipline. In these cases the clubs must reach an agreement or cast a blank vote.
The quorum for the meeting (ie the number of voters to make the vote valid) is one third of the member countries. In the event of a tie, the FIA President shall have the casting vote, although on a vote of confidence in the president the casting vote may go to someone else, most likely the head of the Senate. A simple majority is half the votes cast, plus one. Where Mosley is in specific danger is in the case of abstentions. As we understand it, these are treated as votes and thus in a confidence motion would count against Mosley. He might, for example, get 25 votes in his favour and 20 against, but if there are 30 abstentions, these votes will be count against and he would lose the vote.
As many clubs are nervous about being seen to be pro or anti Mosley, the abstention route may be significant on Tuesday morning.
If the FIA President resigns, the Senate shall convene an Extraordinary General Assembly for the election of the President alone, to be held no less than 2 months and no more than 4 months from the date of the resignation. Thus the identity of a new president could not be known before August 3 and, in all likelihood, not decision would be taken until the start of September. This would mean that the latest date at which the FIA would get a new president would be October 3. During that period of interregnum the FIA would be run by the Senate President, in this case Michel Boeri of the Automobile Club de Monaco, although his powers are limited because his actions need to confirmed by the World Councils and the General Assembly.