The uni­ver­si­ty elec­tions are over, the results have been announced. How did the elec­tion go? And above all: How do the groups rate their results?

Those who expect­ed sur­pris­es and big changes will be dis­ap­point­ed by the results. At least in terms of seat dis­tri­b­u­tion, the new stu­dent coun­cil remains sim­i­lar. The left­ist group OLLi (Offene Linke Liste) has gained an addi­tion­al seat and thus has got fif­teen seats in total. The inde­pen­dent group EULi remains the sec­ond strongest force with six rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The group of Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic stu­dents (RCDS) was able to gain two seats and has become the third strongest fac­tion, with five seats. The social­ist group (Juso-HSG), as well as the lib­er­al group (Lib­erale Hochschulgruppe/LHG) each dis­patch three rep­re­sen­ta­tives, which means the LHG has gained an addi­tion­al seat. While the num­ber of inde­pen­dent elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives has dropped from six to two peo­ple, the anti-fas­cist group (Antifaschis­tis­che Liste/AL) is new in the cam­paign and was able to secure two seats.

Seats in the stu­dent council’s 31st term (Jan­u­ary to Sep­tem­ber 2021), result of pre­vi­ous elec­tions in brack­ets, Graf­ic: Kon­rad Dietrich

Nei­ther the green group (Grüne Hochschul­gruppe; GHG) nor the oppo­si­tion­al right-wing Cam­pus Alter­na­tive (CAH) had stood for elec­tion. “Hence, the Cam­pus Alter­na­tive has final­ly dis­ap­peared for­mal­ly from this body as well, after two years of inac­tion”, Lukas Wanke says joy­ful­ly. He is a for­mer speak­er of the stu­dent coun­cil and can­di­date of the OLLi.

The obvi­ous elec­tion win­ner is the OLLi, own­ing scarce­ly more seats than the EULi, LHG and RCDS put togeth­er. The group assumes that their con­tin­u­ing high stake of seats results in part from their past work and effort in the stu­dent coun­cil. “By tak­ing on many seats and func­tions, the OLLi has not only shown a strong pres­ence, but could also active­ly real­ize some cam­paign promis­es and focal points”, Lukas says.

How­ev­er, oth­er groups regard the elec­tion as a suc­cess as well. The RCDS is not only hap­py about their two extra seats, but is also prais­ing the results of the LHG and EULi. “These gains for the civic camp are encour­ag­ing for the future”, Jonathan Sieber says, a vice speak­er of the RCDS. He rea­sons that their gain can be attrib­uted to stu­dents who are not con­tent with the work and focus of the stu­dent coun­cil and who tend to turn towards the RCDS.

The Juso-HSG has voiced their sat­is­fac­tion, too. Dur­ing the pre­vi­ous coun­cil term they had lost a seat because one of their mem­bers had trans­ferred to anoth­er group. Effec­tive­ly they have regained that seat now. Gen­er­al­ly, the Juso-HSG speaks of a dif­fi­cult start­ing point. The extend­ed coun­cil term, result­ing from the post­poned elec­tion date, led to sev­er­al res­ig­na­tions. Addi­tion­al­ly, the group focused their effort on the fac­ul­ty of law and eco­nom­ics. “It must remain our goal to make offers in more vot­ing areas and fac­ul­ties dur­ing the next elec­tion”, says the lead­ing can­di­date of the Juso-HSG, Felix Hanisch.

Out of 22 seats in the Sen­ate of MLU, stu­dent vot­ers can deter­mine 4 seats. One seat each went to Stu­dents for Future, the Open Left­ist List, Your List, and the Ring of Chris­t­ian Demo­c­rat Stu­dents. In the pre­vi­ous year, the Young Social­ists and the Lib­er­al Cam­pus Group each had got one seat. Stu­dent sen­a­tors will stay in office from Feb­ru­ary through Sep­tem­ber 2021. Graf­ic: Kon­rad Dietrich
Problems during the online election

Covid has accel­er­at­ed efforts for dig­i­tal­iza­tion every­where, includ­ing the uni­ver­si­ty elec­tions. As report­ed in our pre­vi­ous issue (“E‑Voting: Jet­zt wird online gewählt”), these uni­ver­si­ty elec­tions were the first at the MLU that took place online. Still, there remained an option to par­tic­i­pate via postal vot­ing. The new way of cast­ing the vote was met with high expec­ta­tions. Not only was the turnout expect­ed to increase, but also the results were assumed to be pub­lished faster and with less mis­takes. How­ev­er, these hopes were not ful­filled. Not only has the turnout remained much on the same lev­el as in the last years (16.59 %); the rel­e­vant depart­ment has also faced dif­fi­cul­ties with pub­lish­ing the seat dis­tri­b­u­tion. Thus, the online vot­ing par­ty on 18.12.2020 had to end with­out announc­ing the results, which appeared the day after due to tech­ni­cal prob­lems. Addi­tion­al­ly, the cor­rec­tion of the results for the open seats of the stu­dent coun­cil was only pub­lished on 08.01.2021.

Steady turnout — lacking interest for university policy?

It is sur­pris­ing that the turnout shows hard­ly any change, con­sid­er­ing that online elec­tions are actu­al­ly eas­i­er to access and more bar­ri­er-free. This lack of change might be due to a num­ber of rea­sons. While Felix blames the long delay of the elec­tion date, the OLLi and RCDS attribute it to the low acces­si­bil­i­ty of the stu­dent body due to Covid, as well as the lack of inter­est among stu­dents. Through the focus on cam­paign­ing online, most­ly those stu­dents were reached who are already inter­est­ed in uni­ver­si­ty pol­i­cy. Direct feed­back and inter­ac­tion could not take place on cam­pus, ana­logue adver­tis­ing was hard to find. Lukas Wanke points out that the dis­tance to the uni­ver­si­ty has grown in gen­er­al. For exam­ple, stu­dents spend­ing the semes­ter at their parent’s home were prac­ti­cal­ly out of reach.

While the RCDS has addi­tion­al­ly made use of posters in their cam­paign and says that feed­back has been pos­i­tive, the Juso-HSG con­sid­ers this method too expen­sive and not worth the effort. Oth­er groups seemed to most­ly fol­low the lat­ter line as posters were rarely seen around the campus.

On a dif­fer­ent note, the fact that the turnout didn’t dra­mat­i­cal­ly decrease despite the dif­fi­cult con­di­tions shows the abil­i­ty of the groups to mobi­lize their elec­torate. The cam­paign was def­i­nite­ly not a bad one, con­sid­er­ing the results. All the groups that stood in the elec­tion were able to defend or even expand their seats.

Vot­er turnout in the last ten years. The left columns show the turnout in stu­dent coun­cil elec­tions while the right columns show the turnout of stu­dent votes in the MLU sen­ate elec­tions. Graf­ic: Kon­rad Dietrich
Results of the senate election

Besides the stu­dent coun­cil and the stu­dent fac­ul­ty coun­cils, the stu­dent mem­bers of the university’s sen­ate and fac­ul­ty coun­cils were elect­ed, too. For the sen­ate, four groups were able to get one seat each: Stu­dents for future, EULi, OLLi, and the RCDS. The LHG had field­ed can­di­dates but failed to gath­er a seat. Stu­dents for future stood in the elec­tion for the first time and put their focus on the sen­ate elec­tion. There they received the most votes of all eli­gi­ble groups.

You can find detailed results of the stu­dent council’s and stu­dent fac­ul­ty coun­cils’ elec­tion here:

Results for the uni­ver­si­ty senate’s and fac­ul­ty coun­cils’ elec­tion are here:

Ger­man Arti­cle:

Trans­la­tion: Her­mine Clara Vul­tar­ius, Kon­rad Dietrich

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