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Murdoch elected EUSA president despite bad night for Labour
Murdoch elected president in hard-fought election with Munyard, Mehdi and Haigh filling VP positions
Monday, 18 March, 2013 | 18:08
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Credit: Hugh Murdoch

Hugh Murdoch has been elected president of Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA), beating Liam O'Hare by 82 votes, with Mike Shaw coming in third.

Briana Pegado and Sian Robertson made up the rest of the field. Murdoch was running for a second time, having narrowly lost out to James McAsh last year. Commenting on his victory, Murdoch said: "I am so, so excited. This was the toughest campaign that I've ever fought in...I'm glad it's over...I'm going to spend May getting ready by going out and talking to students."

O'Hare, speaking about the result, said: "We ran a fantastic campaign, based on serious and genuine policies, which got the support of over 2,000 students."

O'Hare and Murdoch's teams had clashed during the campaign as O'Hare was repeatedly accused of overspending on his election publicity. Mike Shaw will have an opportunity to run next year due to not being in his final year, and Briana Pegado was quick to state on the night her intention to run again next year. 

The race for vice-president (societies and activities) was decided by the closest margin in over ten years, with Nadia Mehdi defeating Sophie Tolley by just 16 votes. Speaking to The Journal, Mehdi said: "Thank you to all the other candidates who ran. I'm looking forward to taking up the position of VPSA and making sure that liberation groups have more of a voice in EUSA."

Kirsty Haigh was elected vice-president (services) by 393 votes over Jacob Bloomfield, with Fiona Das and Fraser Graham also some way behind. Speaking to The Journal she stated that she was thrilled to win, but stated: "all the candidates ran great campaigns...thanks to everyone who voted." Many EUSA observers noted that the race for the VPS position this year was low-key. Completing the new sabbatical team, Alex Munyard was elected vice-president (academic affairs).

He defeated Claire Rackley by a margin of just under 20 per cent. Munyard told The Journal he was delighted and extremely excited to have the opportunity to put into place the policies that he published in his manifesto.

Despite Murdoch's victory, his colleagues from the university's Labour club had a less than successful night. As well as Rackley's loss, the group's two EUSA trustee candidates James Beaven and Declan Sheridan, lost out. Their candidates for equal opportunities convener, academic campaign rep and women's convener were also unsuccessful.

The far-left Defend Edinburgh group, who last year successfully supported the campaigns of James McAsh and Max Crema, saw two out of their four sabbatical candidates elected: Alex Munyard and Nadia Mehdi. Kirsty Haigh is also considered to be politically close to the group. Defend Edinburgh candidates Aurora Adams and Hona-Luisa Cohen-Fuentes took the two available seats on the trustee board, defeating the two Labour candidates James Beaven and Declan Sheridan.

Commenting on her victory, Adams said: "the election of Hona-Louisa and I shows that there is real appetite for democratic reform in EUSA...I have a lot of hope that the radical shift to the left of this year's trustees will result in a much more transparent and pro-democracy board."

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