Poor turnout, rude winners: The APNIC EC Election 2024 highlights its flaws

  • The APNIC EC Election 2024 declared Sumon Ahmed Samir, Achie Atienza, and Kam Sze Yeung as winners, maintaining all-men EC membership, amid a low turnout.
  • Incumbent candidate Kam Sze experienced notable declines in support, raising questions about the need for electoral reform and greater transparency within APNIC’s election processes.
  • As Paul Wilson departs after 30 years of service, scrutiny intensifies over declining voter participation, urging APNIC to address electoral integrity.

The recently concluded election campaign for the APNIC EC Election 2024 saw the return of Sumon Ahmed Samir, Achie Atienza, and Kam Sze Yeung as the winning candidates. The EC membership remains the same, the old boys club is still intact for another year.

Despite Sumon’s lead with 3,020 votes, the overall voter turnout of 9,604 was disappointingly low, compared to 33,247 votes cast in the 2023 election.

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The decline in participation raises concerns about community engagement and the effectiveness of the election process within APNIC.

In the last two years:

– Sumon has lost the support of over 1000 votes.

– Achie lost support of less than 50 voters  

– Kam Sze has lost the most support of 1,200 voters dropping from second to third place. A terrible performance.  

EC Member, Kam Sze Yeung

Incumbent candidate Kam Sze experienced notable declines in support compared to the 2022 election, prompting questions about the reasons behind the reduced voter turnout and the efficacy of the candidate’s platform.

Why did incumbent candidates, particularly Kam Sze, perform so poorly compared to 2022?

First, restrictions in the breadth of candidates standing for election have clearly had an effect. The evidence shows that fewer people participate in the election when fewer candidates stand. The more candidates there are, the more diverse the debate is and the more motivated people are to vote.

APNIC themselves let down the candidates.

Second, it would seem there are questions over the effectiveness of Kam Sze. Being a member of the APNIC EC brings both rights and responsibilities.

The responsibilities of being the voice of every member of the community in holding APNIC to account must be upheld daily. It is crucial that every member of the EC, including Kam Sze, opens up to the community on an ongoing basis to answer questions and explain the decisions made by APNIC.

Sadly, however, when Kam Sze was greeted by BTW Media at the event to congratulate him on his re-election victory, he ignored us, rolled his eyes, walked away, leaving our hands awkwardly in the air while murmured, “I can’t stand these female reporters.”

And why does the APNIC EC this year remain the same candidates, all men? The answer is crystal clear. This is how the EC of APNIC – a critical body supposed to guide the organisation, make strategic decisions, ensure compliance, and foster effective governance – look at female employees. Are they happy with female community members joining them?

When BTW was watching the APNIC EC election 2024 result presentation at APRICOT 2024, many fellows from the floor, of diverse genders, have also pointed out the issue: the APNIC EC is biased toward men.

Also read: APRICOT 2024: Uniting the internet’s best engineering and operation minds

Kam Sze and all other members are expected to show respect for women, provide regular updates to the community and create opportunities for questions from everyone. This transparency and engagement can enhance understanding and trust within the community.

The outgoing director general, Mr. Paul Wilson, has been acknowledged for his three decades of service to the RIR community. However, concerns persist regarding the decline in voter participation, reduced debate, and scrutiny within APNIC’s election framework during his tenure. The community calls for a thorough examination of the electoral system to address the democratic deficit and restore confidence in future elections.

Also read: Paul Wilson resigns as Director General of APNIC

Also read: Randy Bush honoured at RIPE 87 after calling RIRs a ‘monopoly’

As APNIC prepares for the appointment of a new director general, stakeholders emphasise the importance of prioritising electoral reform to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections in the coming years.

The call for increased openness and accountability underscores the commitment to upholding democratic principles and promoting community engagement within APNIC and the broader internet governance landscape.


Cassie Gong

Cassie is a news reporter at BTW media focusing on company profiles, interviews, podcasts, networking, sustainability, and AI. She graduated from Newcastle University, UK with a Master’s degree in Translating & Interpreting and now works in London and Hangzhou. Send tips to c.gong@btw.media.

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