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Louie Villanueva/the Gauntlet

Beninger and Gora win Senate by-election

Incumbent candidates lose positions

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David Beninger and Ilyas Gora have won the 2013 Students’ Union Senate by-election, ousting incumbent candidates Pavit Sidhu and Maja Rakic.

Beninger received 19 per cent of the total vote with 480 votes.

Beninger, who founded the Student Empowerment Project after last year’s provincial budget cuts, said ensuring stable post-secondary education funding was his main priority.

“I’m going to do exactly what I said I would do in my platform,” he said. “I’m going to influence policy decision makers on the importance of stable, predictable funding at this university and politely remind people that Alberta is the richest province in the country. We don’t have the lowest tuition and we don’t have the highest quality education. I believe we should.”

Beninger said the Student Empowerment Project will be dissolved with his election as senator.

Gora took second place with 410 votes, or 17 per cent of the total vote.

Gora said he plans to use his position to get students who are usually not active in student politics more involved on campus.

“There’s a big Muslim community on campus and there’s not a lot of engagement there,” he said. “They kind of do their own thing and I really want groups like this to get involved in the greater process.”

Scott Vu came in third with 396 votes, with Hana Kadri close behind in fourth, taking 380.

Incumbent candidates Pavit Sidhu and Maja Rakic, who ran on a slate together, both lost their positions, taking sixth and seventh place.

Sidhu said he was disappointed with the result, but added that he has confidence in the new senators.

“Everyone is always a little sad when they don’t win,” Sidhu said, “but in the end we’re all qualified candidates and if you have someone passionate working for the students, that’s all that matters.”

The by-election was called because no one ran for Senate in the 2013 SU general election, leading to the appointment of Sidhu and Rakic.

A total of 2,474 votes were cast.

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