Student - June 13, 2013

'Independents' in the clinch

Basis for allocation of seatsfor Independents is unclear.
Kenyan candidate with a large number of votes risks missing out.

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It seemed such a great victory for the 'Independents', a club of international students that got no less than four of the twelve seats in the Student Council elections. This introduces a new voice in a council that has been dominated by VeSte (with eight seats next year) since the disappearance of PSF/Pulse. But now the Independents are no longer looking so untarnished due to a lack of clarity as to who will actually be occupying those four seats.
Sharing a list
It was made clear in advance that the 'Independents' are not a traditional party. After all, the candidates are all independent and they only shared a list to avoid a situation where all six candidates would just miss getting enough votes. If they took part in the elections via a list, they would be able to share the votes between them. The deciding factor would be the number of votes for the individual candidates and not the position on the list.
Regulations
But after the election, it turned out that the election committee had a different interpretation. Although the Kenyan candidate Gilbert Atuga got 163 votes (the second highest result among the Independents), he did not get a seat. Candidate Doahong Yang, who only got 20 votes, will be allowed to take his seat next year, as will Yu Huang (80 votes) and Wanjun Zhao (112 votes).
Wageningen UR's election regulations will not change that, says Hermijn Speelman, the Student Council secretary. The regulations only contain rules about how the seats should be divided up among the different lists, they say nothing about the order in which candidates are placed on the list. 'That is why the election committee has judged that no protest was lodged against the election result itself, as laid down in the election regulations.'
The Independent candidates now have to decide among themselves how to deal with the situation. The candidates are expected to come with a statement this week or early next week announcing the final allocation of seats. They will also explain the reasoning for the choice of candidates. 
 

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