Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng, a candidate who was banned from campaigning due to allegations of misconduct, has been elected General Secretary of the University of Manchester Students’ Union (SU).
At a dramatic results evening, the position of International Students’ officer also wasn’t announced as a result of the allegations. The hosts Ben Morris and Ted O’Shea from Fuse FM asked all the candidates running for International Students’ officer to leave the room at the beginning of the night, though it was unclear why at the time. Union officials have told The Mancunion that we expect results for the position to come in tomorrow.
Four candidates who ran together on a ‘slate’ were banned from campaigning in person during the final days of the campaign after some students accused them of snatching their phones and voting for themselves. Some students also told The Mancunion that they were “intimidated” by the candidates. The candidates appealed but the ban was upheld.
In a statement, a Union spokesperson said: “Following a number of complaints about four candidates in the Manchester Students’ Union Elections 2019, the independent Returning Officer reviewed the evidence provided and came to the conclusion that these candidates should be banned from further physical campaigning until the close of polling. The ban took effect at 12 pm on Wednesday 6th March and will end at 5 pm on Thursday 7th March.”
The other candidates that were banned from campaigning were Dishika Bhalotia for International Student’s Officer, Rana Phool for Postgraduate Officer, and Chaudry Anas Riaz for Activities & Development Officer.
Rhana Phool was also elected as Postgraduate officer.
7,771 students voted in the 2019 SU elections, a turnout of around 19.4% which is down on last years 19.8%. The SU elections rarely see high turnouts, with previous years recording figures of 16% in 2017 and 28% in 2016. Prior to that, 2015 was a record high of 34.4%.
Another shocking result came as incumbent Education Officer Olivia Meisl was defeated by Chloe Salins. Lizzy Haughton, who was arrested last year, was also re-elected Activites and Development officer by just 39 votes.
Alya Huseyinoglu was elected women’s officer and Adam Haigh won Welfare and Community.
Some candidates expressed disappointment at the underhand tactics used during the campaign. Some of those elected even used their acceptance speeches to thank those who ran a clean campaign.
Dylan Routley, who stood for the position of Welfare and Community officer, told The Mancunion: “As somebody who ran in this election in a separate category this is really disappointing, not only does it undermine the whole point of elections but it diminishes the hard work of so many candidates. [It] also demonstrates a new level of sh*thousery from the SU & NUS [as] the candidates involved were reported several times and received no sanction.”