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Kareem Ibrahim wins SSMU presidency

Kareem Ibrahim was elected president of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) last week with 52.5 per cent of the vote. The results were released by Elections SSMU last Friday.

Alexei Simakov, the opposing candidate, gained 47.5 per cent of the vote.

The rest of the SSMU executive will be comprised of Vice-President (VP) Clubs & Services Kimber Bialik, VP University Affairs Chloe Rourke, VP Finance & Operations Zacheriah Houston, and VP Internal Lola Baraldi.

With no nominated candidates for the VP External position in the initial campaign period, a nomination period for the by-election to fill the VP External position also concluded at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, with Emily Boytinck and Joanna Schacter as the two announced candidates. Campaigning for the position will conclude Saturday, March 27 at 5:00 p.m.

After a particularly heated campaign period, 25.9 per cent of students in SSMU voted in the election. 

Ibrahim stated that he was excited to assume the position of president next year. 

“I’ve been dedicated to student life […] at McGill from the beginning and I’m really thrilled that the majority of students have once again [shown] their confidence in me to continue [taking] that kind of role,” he said. “I can’t wait for next year to be able to put student ideas into effect.”

Ibrahim continued to underscore the importance of student engagement.

“[Both] races were very close for the contested elections, so I definitely think that we’re going to have to do some work in terms of reaching out to students [who] may not have had as much confidence in us as candidates and making sure that their voices are heard as well,” he said. 

Simakov expressed sadness at the loss, but also highlighted that he was proud of his campaign team.

“We’re disappointed obviously,” Simakov said. “We thought we had it in the last few days. We came here not having been really prepared to run. We didn’t really know what we were doing and I think given the conditions, given our experience […] I take a lot of pride in what we did.”

Simakov also emphasized that he would continue to advocate for students who feel that they are not represented by the current executives.  

“I guess the vote is that the current status quo is [working] for people and they’re going to support that,” Simakov said. “Whatever happens to me, I’m going to keep fighting for the student body of McGill. I’m hoping that I became a voice for some of the student demographic that does feel alienated or don’t feel represented by the current administration.” 

Simakov also raised his concerns with student participation in the election. 

“If you look at […] my event page […] public sentiment really was behind it,” Simakov said. “But […] we definitely had to do a better job of making sure people came out to vote and we didn’t, so that’s something we have to consider.” 

Uncontested candidates Bialik, Rourke, and Houston received strong support in the election, with both Bialik and Rourke receiving 89.4 per cent of the vote, and Houston receiving 86.2 per cent. Baraldi was elected to the VP Internal position by 13 votes over  opponent Johanna Nikoletos. 

Rourke underscored that she was pleased with the election results.

“I’m really excited to work with the new incoming executives, I think we’ll be a great team,” Rourke said. “We all have extensive experience with SSMU and […] we have a good understanding of the issues themselves. [Ibrahim and I] have worked together [in the] past on Senate, and I definitely think that that’ll be a good advantage […] when working with the admin going forward.”

Rourke also commented on the challenges that she believed SSMU faced moving forward.

“I think that people have […] had an image of SSMU [where] it’s not relevant to students [and] doesn’t communicate well with students,” she said. “I think that seeing an executive team all [comprised of] people [who] have been previously involved with SSMU might suggest that nothing will change, and I really hope that that’s not the case. I think that we all came in with the idea that using our experience at SSMU, we do want to make changes, and I hope that we’re able to do that.”

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