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Election U-Turn at Council

Feb 23 2004 21:11
Lois Lane
Going back on a previous decision, Union Council have deemed that the Presidential elections were fair and should not be re-run.
Once more round the merry-go-round.

In an emergency meeting this evening, a paper tabled by Richard Walker, current incumbent of and candidate for Deputy President for Clubs and Societies, described the difference between an unfair practice and an unfair election. An unfair practice, it stated, “is one which breaches the elections regulations” whereas an unfair election is one “which is deemed unfair because a breach, or breaches, of the regulations are deemed great enough to have swayed the majority of voters”. Giving his personal opinion that the articles in Felix constituted an unfair practice but that the elections were fair, he noted that personal conversations with a number of people had given him the impression there was some confusion over whether last Thursday’s vote was to declare the article in Felix an unfair practice or that the entire election was unfair.

A decision that the Presidential election was unfair made by council last Thursday, was hence reconsidered. A polarised debate followed with Ashkan Salamat, Deputy President for Education and Welfare candidate, arguing that since Felix is so widely read and is the main communication between Imperial College Union and its members, the practice did indeed make the election unfair. Presidential candidate, Ameet Bhakta seemed a little incredulous that the Council were considering going back on a previous ruling that they had spent 2 and a half hours debating last week and dubbed the situation “ridiculous”, calling into question the credibility of Council. Alex Coby, pointed out that the 4 days since the last meeting gave the Council an opportunity to consider the situation more fully.

A vote was taken and with a majority of 14 votes to 10 (and 8 abstentions) the Presidential election was declared to be fair. 2 attempts by Ameet Bhakta for council to reconsider this reconsideration (a move that requires a 2/3 majority) failed. Following on from this decision, it was then decided by another vote that the Presidential election should be counted, via manual count, with all the other sabbatical elections on Wednesday.

It was clarified that should a candidate refuse to sign the Statement of Intent, which must be signed before a count can take place, then, should this be as a result of any old issues that has been dealt with, then a count would proceed in any case. However if any new issues were raised then these would be dealt with through the usual complaints channels. The Statement of Intent, which declares “I agree these elections have been run constitutionally and fairly”, has been a sticking point in past sabbatical elections.

A paper proposing to overturn the decision to not to re-ballot the entire election was also presented (by elections committee member, Aaisha Latif) but the council decided to stick with their original decision on this matter. It was further decided to address some of the difficulties that were faced with the electronic ballot at a later date when further technical information may be available and the current elections are over.

The other candidates for Deputy President for Clubs and Societies include Matthew Asher, Julie Morgan and Alison Miller. Sam Rorke, Jihane Belkoura and Kevin Fox are also standing for Deputy President for Education and Welfare and Mustafa Arif is also standing for President.

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Discussion about “Election U-Turn at Council”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. Query   
Feb 23 2004 21:44

A polarised debate followed with Ashkan Salamat, Deputy President for Education and Welfare...

You mean candidate surely?

Feb 23 2004 21:48

Ahem. <blushes> It's now been corrected. Thankyou 'Query'!

Feb 24 2004 01:12

At last, Council is seeing sense. We can all finally get on with our lives and bring this farce to a close. Hooray! Long live e-voting!

Feb 24 2004 09:38

Woohoo yet another cover up and general principle dodge. Nice one! Presedential candidate does what could be viewed as electioneering, despite his very good knowledge of the rules. Council objects, people resign etc. Then in an 'emergency' meeting all eight hours of deliberations are overturned because the elections are in fact deemed 'fair'. Anyone ever heard of the dodgy dossier?

Feb 24 2004 12:04

I don't understand the case that that any candidate was unfairly disadvantaged by the so-called "electioneering".

It's all rather silly...

Feb 24 2004 12:35

No, Ashley Brown. Have you ever set aside two weeks of your life for a campaign? The entire process has been one of the most arduous experiences of my life. The least any candidate should expect is a fair vote.

I think most candidates would be happy to walk away from a fair vote, even if they have lost; but if that vote could have been unfairly biased in any way - then that candidate has every right to complain and must do so.

Feb 24 2004 12:48

For pity's sake people.

Have you whinging bastards ever considered that maybe they changed their minds not after ten minutes of debate ? since the vast majority of those voting were there on thursday ? but after having 72 hours to actually think about the whole thing calmly and rationally?

And yes, a fair election is to be expected. That's why we have this arduous system of appeals etc.: to ensure everyone gets a fair hearing. So, now all this c**p has been cycled through again, candidates should just stop whinging and get on with it.

Feb 24 2004 13:44

Stop Bickering, (if that is your real name)

Another more likely way of looking at it is that during that 72hrs they simply forgot what the issue was.

9. Seb   
Feb 24 2004 15:30

Charming Darius. Perhaps you should consider if you still remember what the issue was. Afterall, why should you remember if we can't?

Feb 24 2004 16:22

Perhaps everyone involved should just lighten up a bit and stop treating ICU elections as the most important thing in the universe. Important, yes. Important enough to get in a right old stress about, no.

A large proportion of the candidates seem to be taking themselves far too seriously.

Some people also seem to think that the electorate can be swayed by 3 words in a column in Felix.

Will we ever see ICU elections run on the basis of good manifesto pledges and the charisma of the candidates? Or will it continue to be a who-can-throw-their-toys-furthest exercise?

Note for next year: a victory by getting a candidate disqualified for a minor infringement is no victory at all.

Feb 24 2004 17:15

so when are the results going to be announced?

12. Tim   
Feb 24 2004 17:38

Aaisha's paper rawks!!!

The system sucks!!!

Closed This discussion is closed.

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