Shakira Martin has defeated Sahaya James and Momin Saqib to retain the presidency of the National Union of Students, winning 352 of the 690 delegate votes cast.
This very comfortable victory represented 50.9% of the vote, compared to nearest rival Momin Saqib’s 24.3%. Despite previously being touted by The Guardian as “Martin’s main rival”, Sahaya James, a member of Momentum’s national executive and self-described “socialist feminist” won only 15% of the vote.
Martin, who defeated divisive incumbent Malia Bouattia for the NUS Presidency in April 2017 with 56% of the vote, describes herself as a “black, working class single mother”. She previously served for two terms as the NUS Vice President for Further Education.
Her re-election comes in spite of several controversies during her term in office including accusations of bullying and intimidation by fellow NUS officers and the omission of Judaism as an option from an NUS questionnaire asking students their religion.
Martin’s manifesto included pledges to call for “a Minimum Living Income for all students”, “universal discounts on student travel”, and “quadrupling the dehumanising apprentice minimum wage”.
In response to the win, Martin tweeted, saying “Thank you so much everyone for putting your faith in me for one more year, I cannot explain how humbled and thankful I am!” and urging delegates to vote for other members of her slate at the ongoing conference.
Though the results were largely as expected, the conference was not uneventful. Students occupied the stage in protest as time constraints meant that motions on student sex work and abortion rights in Northern Ireland were not heard, loudly singing Chaplin’s union anthem ‘Solidarity Forever’.
The NUS Conference will conclude on the 29 March.