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October 6, 2008 | by  | in News |
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VUWSA election results announced, Freemantle new President

Boasting the highest voter turnout in over a decade, the results of the VUWSA general elections were announced last Wednesday evening, with PhD student and assistant lecturer Jasmine Freemantle declared the new president of the Association for 2009.

Freemantle attracted 895 votes, 133 more than her closest competitor, current Campaigns Officer Sonny Thomas. The other two candidates for the presidency, International Officer William Wu and Sean Connors, received 658 and 342 votes, respectively.

A total of 2657 votes were cast in this year’s elections, up by 225 from last year. This turnout is more than double that of 2005 and 2006, and is the highest in recent history.

“I’ve been so nervous all day,” Freemantle said when approached by Salient immediately following the announcement. “I had no idea what was going to happen.”

“What my campaign team focused on was just running a really positive campaign and I think it worked.”

Freemantle will succeed her fellow Workers Party member Joel Cosgrove full-time in the new year. “[Freemantle] was a competent candidate who will ensure that VUWSA goes upwards and forwards,” Cosgrove said.

Freemantle will become the third Workers Party member to assume the VUWSA presidency in four years, following this year’s Cosgrove and Nick Kelly in 2006.

Thomas ignored Salient’s requests for a comment following the announcement of the results, but later delivered a letter titled “Lose” to the office on Wednesday evening. “I am saddened that I will not be a part of the VUWSA team next year, and that VUWSA will not see the changes that it needs,” it read.

“However, I wish the victor all the best – and hope that they work with the executive to put VUWSA right so it serves students immediately.”

Last Thursday morning, Thomas’ Facebook status read: “[Thomas] has his life back – and can’t wait to be out of student politics.”

This statement dampens rumours that Thomas intended to lay a complaint with the Returning Officer over Freemantle’s alleged overspending on campaigning material, presumably to result in her disqualification.

Freemantle denied that she had overspent, instead stating that she was under the amount permissible under the rules governing the elections.

She said that her immediate priority was to meet the new executive, individually and collectively. “I want to go into 2009 as a strong team. I’m really looking forward to working with them and the people that I’ve met while campaigning.”

“I have absolutely no problem working with people who have different opinions to me, but I want to make sure they will do their job and in an accountable way.”

Other elected candidates include: Freya Eng (Education Vice-President), Alexander Neilson (Administration Vice-President), Nathan Cooper (Queer Rights Officer), Georgina Hart (Environmental Officer) and Conrad Reyners (Publications Committee representative) – all of whom were unchallenged for their respective positions.

Current Education Officer B Seamus Brady defeated Robert Lee Latimer for the position of Welfare Vice-President by a convincing margin. Latimer, however, was elected to a position on the general executive, in addition to Sam Oldham, Marika Pratley, Tim Wang and Mariya Kupriyenko.

Jordan King attained the role of Council Representative over Keiran Barbalich and Latimer, while Nana Wu was appointed International Officer over Pengbo Jiang.

The full list of successful candidates and a breakdown of the votes are available on the Salient website at: http://www.salient.org.nz/blog/vuwsa-election-results

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