Election results: four new parties in University Student Council
With five seats, the SRVU remains the biggest party, but als ChangeVU, De Vrijmoedige Studentenpartij, BAAD and the Liberal Student Party were elected. The turnout was a bit higher this year, maybe thanks to all the free grilled cheeses handed out?
After years of a downward trend, the turnout finally increased again this year: 9.27 per cent of students voted, compared to last year's historically low turnout of 7.47 per cent. Last year, students only had the SRVU and many independent candidates to vote for, this year there were no less than five parties to choose from.
Just like in previous years, most students voted for SRVU, bringing the party five seats, one less than last year. Both ChangeVU and De Vrijmoedige Studentenpartij got two seats. One-woman party Alexis Arrey Bhakor dragged in 334 votes with her Black and African Diaspora (BAAD) party, the most out of all the candidates. Hidde Smid received 163 votes and also earned a seat with his one-man Liberal University Party.
Bhakor did not expect to get the most votes, because just about everything went wrong. “First my last name was doubled on the voting list, then my middle name was misspelled. Also, there was no picture of me on the website.” Only on Thursday, the last day of voting, everything on the ballot was corrected. “So I'm very happy with this result!”
Incidentally, that was not the only thing that went wrong during the elections. The results were withdrawn after 45 minutes on Thursday evening, because something allegedly went wrong with a seat at the faculty of law. According to current USR president Joep van Dijk, this meant that an SRVU member was ultimately not elected after all, even though this had been communicated earlier. “A very bad situation.”
A thousand grilled cheeses
Van Dijk is positive about the increase in turnout. “Over 700 more students voted compared to last year. That's a percentage increase of 24 percent. We had hoped for more – eventually we hope to go to a stable 20 percent turnout – but we are happy that we were able to reverse the downward trend.” According to Van Dijk, evaluations are planned with the electoral commission, for instance to see how voting can be made as accessible as possible. “And we handed out about a thousand grilled cheese sandwiches – that may have helped, too.”