“Listen to the voice of the Lord today”! These words, taken from Psalm 94/95, “the thought for the day”, also known also as “Passaparola”, which reaches Focolare members worldwide daily, could not have been more appropriate. In fact, the elections for the future President of the Focolare Movement started today, and the first priority for the voters is to listen well to the voice of God to identify the right person who would be the president for the next six years.
As stated by the General Statutes, the following three steps are to be taken when electing the new President:
- she must be elected by at least two thirds of the eligible voters present. This fairly high proportion of voters expresses the wish of the founder, Chiara Lubich so that there would be the greatest possible consensus for this very important role. At the request of the participants, the election process can be interrupted to give space for communion in a plenary session and in small groups;
- having reached the necessary majority, the candidate must accept her election in front of the Assembly;
- further pataience then required because there is the third step to be followed. Since the Movement is an answerable to the Vatican, the elected President – and later also the Co-President – must be confirmed by the Vatican, Dicastery for laity, Family and Life. It is only after this confirmation that the election is valid and can be communicated.
An electoral commission, presented to the Assembly and confirmed at its first plenary session on January 24, ensures that election rules are followed. The five members are all legal experts: Danilo Virdis, a married focolarino from Italy; Flavia Cerino, a focolarina from Italy, Laura Bozzi, a volunteer from Italy; Waldery Hilgeman, a volunteer from Holland and Sr. Tiziana Merletti, an Italian Franciscan.
The election process will continue tomorrow, 1st February Once the President has been elected, the Co-President will be elected in the same way.