The Electoral Officer has provisionally ruled that Liam Donohoe (Grassroots) will be SRC President in 2020. The results are yet to be officially announced but Honi is confident that a comeback from Josie Jakovac is now impossible.
Donohoe’s victory was aided by a united left coalition which saw Pump (NLS), Unite (Unity) and Left Action (SAlt) consolidate behind Donohoe, putting aside a history of stupol disagreements.
Honi’s exit polling put Donohoe’s Moderate Liberal adversary Josie Jakovac (Boost) ahead on pre-poll after a record turnout with 1168 votes cast. Jakovac pocketed 56% of the vote, exceeding Donohoe’s 44%.
But the tables turned on day two as Donohoe surged, landing at 53% after the broad left bloc capitalised on the opening of more booths across campus, mitigating Panda’s advantage in the Jane Foss Russell (JFR) booth, the heartland of Panda voters due to its proximity to the International Student Lounge.
Donohoe’s victory comes after sparks erupted on the campaign trail earlier today, with Boost Campaign Manager Julia Kokic (Moderate Liberal) locked in a shouting match with members of the broad left bloc after polls closed.
At times, campaigners came close to physical clashes on the hustings. This afternoon, Boost campaigners, including Joseph Tesoriero, were involved in a pushing match with members of Left Action after a Boost member attempted to photobomb photos of the united left bloc.
The race was marred by numerous complaints from all sides. Panda was banned from campaigning for periods of both Wednesday and Thursday, after repeated warnings from Electoral Officer Casper Lu for campaigning in the exclusion zone, talking to voters in Mandarin and standing over voters.
Boost presidential candidate Jakovac was shadowed by Left Action campaigners throughout today.
Grassroots last held the SRC presidency in 2017 under Imogen Grant.
Numerous controversies sullied Jakovac’s campaign. It started with her Honi Soit interview, in which she faltered when asked about a Facebook status in which she referred to the French national football team as “Africa.”
A screenshot of a conversation in which she commented that refugees “do not work” and “bring their war with them [to Australia]” was also circulated by the left bloc on Tuesday.
Honi revealed that Liberal MP Julian Leeser attended Jakovac’s campaign fundraiser earlier this month.
Today, Honi reported that Jakovac accosted campaigners who were speaking Mandarin to each other.
Donohoe’s victory signals the end of a recent right-wing intervention into the SRC.
The results for NUS and Council are yet to be determined, and the counting of the ballots will continue for a fortnight.
More to come.