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Leo Buckley wins Union Presidency by three votes

Leo Buckley has been elected to serve as the Oxford Union President in Trinity Term 2024, defeating Julia Maranhao-Wong by three votes.

Buckley, currently on the Standing Committee and a third-year Historian at Trinity College, received 423 votes, while Maranhao-Wong received 420 votes. 93 people voted to re-open nominations.

This result comes as a shock, with Maranhao-Wong being backed by various Union officers, while Buckley ran independently without the support of a slate.

This election will be the last before the ban on social media campaigning comes in next term. The ‘CHALLENGE’ slate used social media accounts and direct messaging in the run up to yesterday, while Buckley did not have a significant online presence during these elections.

At a town hall with candidates, Leo Buckley justified his choice to run independently by a commitment to offer voters a democratic choice rather than having another unopposed election like last term, and encouraged all Union members to vote on Friday.

He also challenged Maranhao-Wong’s claims that she was the only candidate to have fulfilled her pledges by saying “I believe myself to have fulfilled pledges in the past, which would render that statement false”.

Maranhao-Wong had pledged to focus on Union scholarships and grants, and emphasised the ‘CHALLENGE’ slate’s slogan: ‘Challenge ideas, challenge speakers, challenge the status quo’.

She promised debates on the Olympics in the run-up to Paris 2024, reform of the Ball Committee, and changes to make debates shorter Debates.

Buckley’s pledges included a freeze on prices at the Union bar, longer opening hours, and increasing debate participation.

In a comment to The Oxford Student, Leo Buckley said: “I’m humbled by the trust the members have placed in me to steer the Oxford Union, and am grateful for this opportunity to lead an institution I adore. I look forward to serving the members in Trinity Term 2024”.

The ‘CHALLENGE’ slate won down the ballot for other officer roles. Louis Wilson secured the office of Librarian-elect with 597 votes, beating the 236 votes for re-opening nominations. 

Izzy Horrocks-Taylor secured the Treasurer-Elect position with 557 votes, while over 246 voted for re-opening nominations. She pledged runner-up floor prizes, nightclub discounts, and a consulting networking event.

Chris Collins was elected as Secretary with 596 votes, while 227 voted to re-open nominations. The new Secretary will serve under the Hilary Term President, Hannah Edwards. The others will serve under the President elected for Trinity Term.

In the race for the Standing Committee, ‘CHALLENGE’ has also secured several positions. Out of the six running, four were elected: Aryan Dhanwani, Mikaeel Toosy, Peter Chen, and Robert McGlone.

Despite controversy from an attempted rules change to bar him from running this term, Zariel OAK ran for Standing Committee. The motion to ban him was dismissed by the Returning Officer and the disciplinary committee updated its report to call the move “shameful” for its “electoral motivations”.  He was, however, eliminated with 57 votes.

‘CHALLENGE’ candidates swept the Secretary’s Committee, with Jenny Wright, Sidd Nagrath, Hamza Hussain, Rachel Haddad, James Mackenzie, Yassin Hachi, Saharsh Anand, and Anya Trofimova – only two candidates were unsuccessful.

The full breakdown of results is as follows:

President-elect: Leo Buckley – 423

Librarian-elect: Louis Wilson – 597

Treasurer-elect: Izzy Horrocks-Taylor – 557

Secretary: Chris Collins – 596

Standing Committee (in descending order): Peter Chen (197 first preferences), Mikaeel Toosy (85), Aryan Dhanwani (115), Robert McGlone (114), Lyle Hopkins (98), Amy Gilbride (67)

Secretary’s Committee (in descending order): Shreya Bothra (169 first preferences), Rachel Haddad (64), James Mackenzie (84), Anya Trofimova (78), Saharsh Anand (65), Ashling Sugrue (42), Hamza Hussain (58), Sidd Nagrath (51), Yassin Hachi (49), Jenny Wright (49), Olivia Knight-Catalinete (35)

Turnout for this election was 987, a significantly higher turnout than last term’s 590.