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MAASTRICHT. For the sixth year in a row, Dope wins university elections, although their predominance is declining significantly. The party remains represented in both the university council and all faculty councils, but goes from 25 to 18 seats. After years, Novum loses the silver medal and only wins six (last year they got eight). The turnout in the service council elections was significantly higher (55.8 percent) than in the student sections (23.5 percent).
Laurens Bierens, number four of Dope on the list of the U-council, sees the result as a victory despite of the loss of seats. "It was new for most parties to do everything online [because of corona, ed.] and still we have become the biggest again." Why the loss? "That is speculation, but there was less voting this year compared to last year [only at Fasos the turnout percentage (23.1) was higher than last year (20.5), ed.] and this time we have the missed physical contact at the faculties. That is always a valuable period.” In the coming year, Dope will, among other things, be committed to a UM app with, for example, notifications for study deadlines and an overview of events for all faculties.
Novum, the undisputed number for years, also lost seats. Thomas Vaessen, party leader for that party to the University Council, also thinks that the online campaign is the main reason. "People without Facebook, for example, cannot be reached." Nevertheless, he is somewhat positive. “We obtained a seat on all councils in which we participated. We also have a voice again at the Faculty of Law, in which we were not represented last year. The current position is a good starting point to start building again.”
The lost seats of Dope and Novum mainly go to the relative newcomers KAN (Climate Action Network) and USM (United Students Maastricht). The latter in particular performed well and rose from one seat to seven, one of which is in the University Council. This is striking, because they were the only party with a campaign budget of zero euros due to a registration problem, says chairman Moritz Takacs. According to him, their success is due to the international composition of the party and their experience with online campaigning. “Last year we also did everything online, so we could build on the experiences of that time.” Next year USM wants to join a European alliance of student representatives to create an even larger network. “And we are also going to organize events to maintain close contact with our supporters. We hope that the turnout will increase in this way."
In the service councils, only two out of six had elections; the other four had fewer or as many candidates as seats. A seat remains free at the council of the university library. Remarkable, because that council already went from five to four seats last year; only three of them are now occupied. The turnout percentage among staff is many times higher than among students. At Facility Services, this was highest at 60.3 percent. ICTS was at 51.2 percent. Outliers among the students are FHML (31.4 percent) and FSE (32.1 percent). SBE voted the least with only 12.4 percent; last year it was 32.7 percent.