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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