Last Wednesday, the election for the Social Policy Commissioner within KSU took place between Dario Cacopardo and Gabriella Sutton, with Ms. Sutton emerging victorious with 22 organisations backing her as opposed to 17 backing Mr. Cacopardo. In a letter sent to student media organisation Insite Malta, which can be found in full here, on Friday, Cacopardo alleged that there was meddling in the election by political student organisation SDM, saying that he fell “victim to a dishonest whispering scaremongering campaign” that cost him an electoral victory.
The Yuppie contacted SDM for their response to these allegations. This is what we received on Friday evening;
In light of the allegations brought up by Mr.Cacopardo with regards to some form of influence on the KPS Election, SDM feels it is unfair that a candidate brings up such fallacies as an alibi as to why the majority of the students chose to elect another candidate rather than him, and completely distances itself from such allegations.
First things first. It was made abundantly clear to Mr. Cacopardo that given SDM’s involvement in the KSU elections, which came about unexpectedly, all of its executive members would be occupied with the election strategy, logistics and all sorts of work related to election campaigns*, and setting up a meeting may take some time. Notwithstanding this, both SDM President, Gabriel Micallef, and Secretary General, Neil Smart Costantino, spoke directly. to Mr. Cacopardo to explain the matter. SDM Secretary General, Neil Smar Costantino, made plans to meet up with the KPS Candidates right after the KSU elections, as considering the fact that the KSU Elections per se where rather unexpected, and SDM year after year, take this election rather seriously, with or without any other team competing against it. This was communicated to Mr. Cacopardo and also to Ms.Sutton. In fact, SDM only met Ms. Gabriella Sutton after meeting Mr. Cacopardo. SDM never felt the need to involve itself in the KPS elections more than any other organisation in University, and won’t start now. We believe every KPS candidate has a level playing field, and any comments stating otherwise would be an insult to all organisations and their members.
*We are surprised by Mr. Cacopardo’s comments that SDM members were uninterested in the meeting. The members who attended the meeting, which took almost an hour asked various questions and a discussed the proposals arising. This is the reason why such meetings are set-up. It is also important to note, that the same SDM members met Ms.Sutton in a similar meeting. We are also surprised by the point where he mentions that executive members were present at the KPS meeting on Wednesday. President, Gabriel Micallef, Vice-President Gabriel Camilleri, Secretary General, Neil Smart Costantino and Human Resources Officer Keith Grima, all attended the KPS meeting. We do not feel there is a need to explain why those members attended the meeting, *after all it is their right to do so just as it is all the right of all other students, evident from the fact of having many organisations attending with more than one member.
When it comes to allegation that SDM influences organisations to vote for the other candidate, SDM does not concur. We do not think it is fair to point fingers towards an organisation for an electoral result. We reiterate that it is an insult to organisations to say that they take decisions based on what they are told, and also towards Ms. Gabriella Sutton who worked on her respective campaign. SDM points out that at a certain point during the session, Ms.Sutton was given a standing ovation for a comment which might have scored points for her as well. Would Mr. Cacopardo imply that SDM ordered the organisations to stand up and cheer for Ms. Sutton?
SDM would also like to make reference to what Mr. Cacopardo said with regards to the election of which saw Mr. Jacob Portelli elected through the KE Commission. While we do not want to bring more people into this issue, we find it inconsistent that in one sentence he is saying that we worked against Portelli being elected, and in another he mentions that only those ‘backed by SDM’ stand a chance of being elected.
In essence, we completely deny the allegations being made by Mr. Cacopardo regarding the Social Policy Commissioner election. We continue to look forward towards working together with all organisations on campus equally to increase and promote student activism. We invite Mr Cacopardo to continue working for what he believes in, as we are certain that he still has very much to offer to the University Community, but we must say that the approach taken here is disappointing, to say the least. Lastly, we would like to thank Mr.Cacopardo for his constant involvement around the University of Malta and his service towards the University students.
SDM never felt the need to involve itself in the KPS elections more than any other organisation in University, and won’t start now. We believe every KPS candidate has a level playing field, and any comments stating otherwise would be an insult to all organisations and their members.
We have contacted Mr. Dario Cacopardo for further comments related to this matter, and also Ms. Gabriella Sutton for her comments in the matter.
Co-Founder of The Yuppie back in 2017 and a History graduate.
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