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SSMU calls by-election

Newly-acclaimed SSMU VP Finance & Operations Peter Newhook declared his resignation Monday, triggering a by-election to fill the position.

Newhook claimed his resignation was motivated by personal issues.

“I was learning fast, and I felt ready [for the position], but it didn’t make sense for me to delay [graduating for] a whole year,” Newhook said.

Setting election dates normally calls for a vote of Council, but since Council was not scheduled to meet until next week, on Monday executives used their power to call for a by-election. Every executive save VP University Affairs Adrian Angus, who disagreed with the others’ interpretation of the SSMU by-laws, voted in favour of a by-election.

This year’s SSMU elections were marked by several candidate dropouts – including that of fellow Finance & Operations candidate Rushil Mistry, who rescinded his candidacy on March 4 – but the resignation of an executive so quickly after the election brings the Students’ Society into unprecedented territory.

“Executives don’t normally resign, so this isn’t a situation we’ve dealt with before,” said Corey Shefman, Elections McGill’s Chief Electoral Officer.

Nominations for the position opened on Monday and will last until April 1. While no candidacies have been confirmed yet, several students have expressed interest.

Yahel Carmon, a U2 Political Science and Economics student and the SSMU Speaker, worked closely with Newhook during his campaign and is now considering candidacy.

“Simply, I need to talk to my family and see if it is the right place for me at the moment…. I want to be confident that if I don’t run there is a candidate who can do the job,” Carmon said, noting that he will decide after seeing who else is running.

A newbie to student politics, U2 Accounting and Finance student Tobias Silverstein has also expressed interest.

Campaigning for the by-election begins April 2 and continues until April 8. Polling runs from April 7-11.

The last resignation from a SSMU executive position was four years ago, when President Alam Ali stepped down that September. SSMU did not hold a by-election, and the VP University Affairs assumed the President’s role.

Last year saw SSMU’s most recent by-election, when Presidential candidate Floh Herra-Vega contested Elections McGill’s enforcement of electoral rules, causing the original election to be invalidated.