For the first time in a number of years, we will be having an independent candidate participating for a post of the KSU Executive Board. Nicholas Martinelli will be contesting for the role of Culture and Entertainment Officer and will come up against the representative of SDM, Harley Mallia, in an election, the date of which is yet to be announced. We caught up with Nicholas and asked him a couple of questions regarding his campaign.
Why have you decided to contest the elections?
Being an active student since my first day at university, I decided to contest for the role of Culture and Entertainment Officer, because I have gained substantial experience and it is a role I believe I will enjoy doing, and given the opportunity by the students, hope to fulfill to my full potential.
“I hope that my candidature will be an inspiration”
The reason I decided to contest as an independent candidate is simple. I believe in a university where students should have the possibility to vote for someone who is not affiliated with any political student organisation. They would vote for the person based on his or her capabilities and ideologies, and not because he or she is associated with a party. I want to set an example for all students that for a chance for the KSU experience you don’t need to be approached by the political student organisations. I hope that my candidature will be an inspiration to other students to take the initiative to achieve something great and be the change that is needed at University.
What do you believe is the problem with the current electoral system?
Currently, and as far as i can recall, the KSU is one of the few councils in Malta that implements the ‘first past the post’ electoral system. This does not a set a quota needed to be elected, but rather the candidate or party with most votes gets elected with the other left without any representation. This means that candidates are voted for and the tally just keeps on rising and rising, without any limit or quota, and no votes or passed onto the next in line.
This limits the chances of anyone who would like to contest as an independent candidate since SDM (for instance) are a much bigger organisation than any independent candidate standing alone for his ideology. Something needs to be done to change the system and give students a better opportunity to contest, whilst enhancing student activism!
“Students no longer make university their home”
The current system discourages students who would like to give back to university by working as part of the representing council by contesting independently. Political Organisations on campus have a great deal of resources when compared to any independent candidate aspiring to voice his or her ideology. Even though the current system has not failed to deliver productive results, with every elected council working day in and out to make life on campus better, the University of Malta has suffered a great loss. Students no longer make university their home. The evidence is in the significant lack of student body participation within faculty organisations, let alone KSU hosted events. Something needs to be done, something needs to spark back the fire students once had to voice their opinions, without the fear of being belittled by other organisations.
What would you bring to the table as Culture Officer?
Being an active student for the past 3 years at university, of which I spent my last as the Events Manager for UoM Futsal, whilst also attending and helping out in other organisational events, I am contesting for the role of Culture and Entertainment Officer. Apart from the vast experience I acquired working with different people in different scenarios, coupled with an eye for excellence in all the work I do; I believe that my passion towards student activism would encourage students to take up an active role within the university community which will further strengthen the relationship between KSU and the students. I have created proposals that I would like to implement together with the newly elected KSU members, and if given the opportunity, I look forward to work hand in hand with them so as to uphold university life and student activism.
What message would you like to pass on to the student body?
As a fellow student, I would like to encourage all students to find the time among all their studies to participate and let the University life enrich them as it has done to me. Through my experiences I have found the courage and support to go forth with my candidature. I am working hard because I am passionate about what I am contesting for. I encourage the student body to challenge themselves, to work on what they believe and what they would like to achieve, do as I do, despite the many odds against my favour.
“This is a campaign for student activism, a call for change!”
This campaign is not just about my name along the other recently elected KSU members. It is a campaign for Student Activism, a call for change! If you are passionate about something and want to make your voice heard, just go ahead and do it!
Thank you to Nicholas Martinelli for answering our questions, and we wish him the best of luck in his campaign! You can see him, along with all the candidates on the SDM Ticket, in action on Tuesday 2nd May as we put them all through their paces at The KSU Candidate’s Grilling, in collaboration with Insite Malta!
Co-Founder of The Yuppie back in 2017 and a History graduate.
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