In a recent committee discussion, the KCL Political Economy Society leadership made the decision to confine this year’s AGM vote to current members only.
According to a message sent to committee members, the majority of said members agreed the decision is “how things should be”. These included the society’s President, Active VP, and General Secretary. The message in question also stated that “in a democracy you lose some, you win some”.
The Political Economy society has historically been closely linked with the King’s department of the same name. The group is also in receipt of an annual £2,000 of funding from the department. In a message sent by a student representative to society leadership, concerns were raised that the money in question would not be used to benefit the department’s students, given the inherent nature of closed elections. In response, the society stated they “have opened application and encourage PE students to apply and nominate themselves. There was a fair democratic vote that took place between us committee members and a majority of members voted for only committee elections.”
In a recent interview by the iMPAK Journalism team, society Treasurer João Pedro Tavares stated that next year committee candidates would also be screened by the current President. He stated: “How is suspending a democratic vote just, if those who voted for it are disallowing popular judgement? This is very problematic, because it favors committee members to re-elect themselves, or their friends, manifesting blatant favouritism”. In addition, Tavares said that this year’s committee did a “poor job”, questioning what made the ten of them more eligible to select next year’s leadership than the approximately 200 members of the society itself.
In a further statement to Roar, Tavares said: “I feel like the committee does not understand the severity of the situation. In no way do I think that intentions are malicious, but a closed vote allows for favouritism. The student body is not only being denied their proper representation, but we’re also being denied the right to choose how the society ought to use our department’s money. The committee is now breaking the free and fair elections of the PESoc, risking favouritism and corruption.
”I hope our student body is doing well, regardless of this election issue. Our door is always open for members, so please feel free to approach us. On that note, please message the society about the vote; I’m sure they’ll revert to regular voting procedure once they hear from our members, the KCLSU, student representatives, and the DPE department.”
When it comes to electoral procedure, KCLSU policy clearly states that “all elections must be democratic,” and that any elections conducted otherwise will have their results ignored and be re-held by the KCLSU itself.