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Nominet election campaign starts rolling

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The election campaign for two Board positions at dot-uk registry Nominet has kicked off, with seven candidates vying for two positions.

But despite efforts to revitalise the organisation after several years of infighting, voters will be disappointed to see a cast of the usual suspects on the ballot. Five of the seven candidates were members of Nominet's recently wound-up Policy Advisory Body (PAB) — whose insider culture eventually caused it to implode.

Of the two not immersed in Nominet's destructive politics of late, one is Thomas Vollrath who, as CEO of 1&1 Internet, was the only one of the "big three" to vote in favour of changes to Nominet's constitution in 2006 — changes that were finally made in February of this year. The other, Steve Kennedy, interestingly lists his 10 articles for El Reg, written three years ago, as a good qualification for a directorship. [And indeed it is. — Ed.]

Kennedy has however invoked the ire of another wannabe Board member, Andrew Bennett, whose election strategy appears to be built around complaining about everyone else.

Having complained to Nominet members about being badly treated on the unrelated UKNOT mailing list, complained to an ISP about a comment posted to his own blog, complained to Twitter about a spoof account, and even complained about a recent El Reg story, Bennett has taken issue with Kennedy for joining in with a mocking assertion about his aquatic love for dolphins. Considering Nominet's recent experiences, thin-skinned may not be the ideal qualification for a prospective Board member.

The remainder of the list is made up of old hands Sebastien Lahtinen, also a previous Nominet Board member; Lord Erroll, who is one of the more active Internet people in government; as well as relative newbies Mark Healey and Tom Wills-Sandford.

So what are all these people standing for? Well, apart from the fact that all the previous PAB jobs are now gone in favour of a less-prominent but more effective system of building teams around particular issues, joining the Board is an opportunity to help Nominet get back on its feet under a new chair and with constitutional changes that should pull out some of the damaging politics of recent years.

As the dot-uk registry, Nominet is taking a larger role in global internet governance, and still threatens to come good on the potential of ENUM. It may also serve as a model of good governance if its relationship with the UK government can be stabilised.

Here's a very quick summary of what the candidates have to say:

  • Andrew Bennett: Give members more voting power; "bring people back together".
  • Earl of Erroll: Dot-uk maintain position in global Net governance; avoid UK government interference; improve business environment within Nominet.
  • Mark Healey: Focus on bigger picture; expansion into managing other registries; more changes in Nominet structure.
  • Steve Kennedy: Help make ENUM work; improve public communication.
  • Sebastien Lahtinen: Provide fresh ideas; help make ENUM work; make recent changes to Nominet work.
  • Thomas Vollrath: Push innovation; avoid UK government interference; bring in business experience.
  • Tom Wills-Sandford: Reform policy processes; make recent changes to Nominet work; maintain position in global Net governance.

Nominet members can vote up to 4 July and the Annual General Meeting takes place in Birmingham on 6 July. You can view all election details, including candidate statements, here.

Interestingly, members will also have to vote to approve the new chair, Baroness Rennie Fritchie – who only started the job earlier this week. ®

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