By Harry Webster
Hollie Cooke has been elected the new Students’ Union President, in what was a record-breaking election for Cardiff’s Student Union in terms of electoral participation.
After a grueling week of campaigning for all 43 of the candidates, the results of this years’ Students’ Union elections were finally announced on Saturday, resulting in the formation of a new thirteen-strong team – made up of 7 sabbatical officers, and a further 4 campaign officers.
Hollie, who is the current VP for Welfare, said she was “ecstatic” after an unpredictable election campaign, and that she was “so looking forward to it”, citing her current time in office as motivating her “to go on for another year.”
Cooke – who received almost double the number of votes as her nearest competitor – was also full of praise for her fellow candidates, telling Gair Rhydd: “They’ve all been absolutely wonderful, it’s been such high energy all week, all four of have given it everything all week, it could have been anyone of us and they should be very proud of themselves.”
Such a feeling was shared by the Student Unions’ incumbent President, Sophie Timbers who praised the togetherness of all of the candidates, after a week she described as an “emotional rollercoaster” for all involved.
Speaking to Gair Rhydd about the election week, Sophie said: “I think this has been one of the nicest election weeks we’ve had, because all 43 of the candidates have gotten on like a house on fire. They’ve supported each other throughout the week.
“Congratulations to every single candidate that’s won in these elections because, my god it’s a tough job, but it’s extremely rewarding all at the same time.”
Sophie was also keen to offer some advice to the newly elected team, telling Gair Rhydd: “In everything that you do, you must think students. Student experience is what we are here to do; we are here to represent students, so go out there and make a change. That’s why people have voted for you, so go and and smash those manifesto points.”
Certainly, the onus will now be on the new officers to deliver their manifesto points more than it ever has been, after a record 6,851 individuals decided to cast their vote, resulting in a total of 42,085 votes being cast in total.
Most of the votes were cast in the race for AU President (VP Sports), while the ballot for SU President came in a very close second. The two categories received 4,192, and 4,181 votes respectively, with Tom Kelly being elected for VP Sports.
The closest contest was in the battle for VP Welfare, with just 80 votes separating eventual winner Nicholas Fox, and runner-up Annabel Jardine-Blake.
The least votes were cast in the race for VP Heath, with Kirsty Hepburn being the only candidate up for nomination, receiving 2,751 votes, while an additional 163 votes being cast to re-open nominations (RON). Following her election, Kirsty jokingly told Gair Rhydd: “RON put up a good fight.”
For a full breakdown of all of the results turn to page 8.