Ariel Guarco has been re-elected president of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) at the organisation’s General Assembly in Seville today (Monday, 20 June 2022).
Mr Guarco won with 455 votes, ahead of rival candidates Melina Morrison from Australia (164 votes) and Jean-Louis Bancel from France (160 votes).
The election was carried manually due to a technical issue with the online voting system.
Mr Guarco is also president of the Confederación Cooperativa de la República Argentina (Cooperar). He has been involved in co-ops since the 1980s, when he started to actively participate in the electric co-operative of his city, Coronel Pringles. He was elected president of the co-op in 1997 and president of the federation (Fedecoba) that integrates electric co-operatives in the province of Buenos Aires in 1998. He became president of Cooperar in 2011 and was elected to the board of the International Cooperative Alliance in 2013.
In his speech at the GA, ahead of the election, he talked about his life-long commitment to showcasing the co-operative identity and said the last four years as president of the ICA had been ones of learning and had made him optimistic about the future. He talked about the ICA’s role as a global platform for co-ops to share experiences and build consensus, mentioning the important role of its sectors, regions and thematic committees.
“You know what we have built together over the past few years. You do because we built it together,” he said.
“We will be successful if we can show that faced with global challenges we can come up with complex responses.”
Taking the podium after the result was announced, Mr Guarco apologised on behalf of the ICA for the issues with the online voting system. “We are all victims of this failure,” he said.
Mr Bancel also took to the floor. He said: “Whatever happened, unity is more important than anything else. What happened here was a joint failure. We said we believe in democracy, but failed to organise elections. We were not able to organise a proper vote. I think the ICA board position is not a power question, it’s much more than that. I ask the re-elected chair and board to see what happened today and try to find a way not to go in that type of failure.”
The ICA was founded in 1895 in London to unite and represent co-operatives around the world.