28 July | 03:24:07
Scotland's Student Newspaper
Exclusive: Full CitySA presidential election results revealed
The Journal uncovers result college management tried to suppress
Wednesday, 12 September, 2012 | 09:00
Credit: Katharina Dziacko

Former City of Glasgow Students' Association (CitySA) president Emma Iwanow would have won this year's election, The Journal can exclusively reveal.

Iwanow had been the pre-election favourite to win the presidential race, but as The Journal revealed in June, the events management graduate sensationally resigned her position as the election descended into fiasco when the results were delayed by six weeks without explanation.

Following Iwanow's decision to resign as president and withdraw from the election on 23 June, the results were announced just four days later, again with no reason given for the delay.

Previous communication to candidates and the wider student body had indicated 'unforeseen circumstances'.

Data uncovered by The Journal shows that had Iwanow remained in the race, she would have won in the first round with 353 votes to Mark Farmer's 110 votes as 570 votes were cast with a quota at 286.

Speaking to The Journal, Iwanow said: "To see the results of the elections is a huge honour as it shows the work we achieved as an association last year is recognised by the students at City of Glasgow College and to know they put their trust in me to lead CitySA this year is greatly appreciated."

Such was Iwanow's popularity as choice of leader, many chose not to select a second preference.

With second preferences distributed using Single Transferable Vote (STV), Farmer came out on top with 218 votes to Helen Grant's 79, with Peter Hobson securing 69 votes, and Arron McNamara securing 64 with 430 votes cast and a reduced quota of 216.

Candidates were initially told that the number of votes for Iwanow would not be released.

Iwanow added: "I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote for me, but unfortunately due to personal reasons I withdrew from the elections prior to the announcement of the results which has resulted in Mark Farmer being elected.

"The association was awarded college union of the year at the NUS Scotland Awards and I hope CitySA maintain that this year.

"I wish Mark and his team all the best in the year ahead, it will be the most challenging but rewarding time for them."

In a response to The Journal's call for answers as students questioned the integrity of the results, a statement was put out by the college and chief returning officer, Natalie Maver, on June 22.

It read: "Due to ongoing circumstances, outwith the control of the chief returning officer, the college has not been able to announce the results of the CitySA executive election.

"The college realises that this delay is frustrating to all students and candidates, and we will endeavour to announce the results as soon as is possible.

"The chief returning officer is confident that the election has been carried out in a free, fair and democratic manner and this delay will not compromise the result in any way."

However, The Journal has discovered that the college used an in-house e-voting system for the election, and it has been confirmed that there are no electronic logs to verify the accuracy of the results, and if the data could have been compromised between the close of the polls in March and the results being announced on June.

Iwanow said: "Hopefully next year they will be quicker at releasing the results, but it is a concern that there are no electronic logs to uphold the integrity of the elections."

Voters were again denied the opportunity to reopen nominations (RON) as a fully engaged preference as was the case in the 2011/12 presidential elections.

This comes despite RON being an option for voters in the November 2011 elections for other executive positions within the association.

Instead, students were only given the option to RON as an all-out first preference.

The National Union of Students - to which CitySA pays a reported annual membership fee of around £7,000 - includes RON being available for all elections in its model constitution for FE students' unions, but this was omitted from the 2006 Glasgow Metropolitan College Students' Union (GMSU) constitution.

Without a new constitution following the merger of Glasgow Metropolian College, Central College, and Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, this version was adopted by the college in 2010 despite several fundamental flaws.

A new CitySA constitution was forced through by the college board of management this summer without full student approval.

Despite stepping down as president in May, Iwanow has not fully left student politics and continues her position as Priority Campaign Convenor on the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland's Scottish Executive Council.

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