Current Vice-President (External) Petros Kusmu emerged victorious over two other contestants and one joke candidate for next year’s Students’ Union presidency.
Four rounds were ultimately needed to determine the final result after voting closed Thursday evening, with Kusmu winning a narrow 3,102 votes out of 6,286, or 52 per cent.
After the results were announced, an elated Kusmu said his reaction was beyond words — he has been aiming for the SU presidency since his first year at the U of A.
“The only way I can describe it is — and I hate to use this example, but I just felt so lightheaded. I just felt almost tipsy,” he said.
“This is something that I’ve been thinking about for nearly half a decade ... I guess this is what it feels like when your dreams kind of come to reality.”
When asked about why he thought voters chose him, Kusmu said although fellow candidate Saadiq Sumar posed a serious challenge, it came down to the overall trust students had in him.
“I feel like people liked what I was saying. I feel like there’s a lot of momentum that’s been building over the amount of years I’ve been on Students’ Council,” he said.
“I feel like a lot of people felt that kind of momentum, a lot of people trusted me — in Kusmu we trust, I guess. I feel like there were new ideas and experiences that I was bringing to the portfolio as well.”
Kusmu also emphasized the difficulty of winning over current Vice-President (Student Life) Saadiq Sumar, calling him an “excellent candidate” and a “good friend.”
“If there was any other candidate that I would hope to not run against, it would be (Sumar). It was just so unbelievably difficult to run against him,” he said.
“It’s not the easiest thing running against a really close friend, someone that you absolutely have so much respect for ... Someone who’s also experienced, someone who’s also passionate about the portfolio.”
Kusmu said his plans for his term, which begins May 1, include helping the incoming Students’ Council members transition into their new roles.
“Not just any regular transition, but making sure (councillors are) equipped to not only pressure us executives, but to also engage with their constituents,” he said.
“But beyond that, it’s just making sure that we can follow up on big projects that we’re currently working on.”
Joke candidate and third runner-up Horse with a Gun said they were saddened by Kusmu’s victory, and called it an “affront to democracy.”
“Petros Kusmu is a good man, but he is not a great man. I would not go so far as to accuse him of being broken, crippled and pathetic, but he is not the future,” they said.
“It is time to crawl out of the womb, wipe off your placenta and realize that you too can grow up and trudge through this university — not as infants, but as grown-ups. As autonomous humans.”
When questioned about their future plans, Horse gave an ominous hint that they won’t entirely disappear from campus.
“I cannot say that here, but I assure you in a few days you will know,” they said.
“And if you shed those tears as they grow into an ocean that splits Canada in twain, yea all North America, but whisper in your sadness of sleep, ‘I made a mistake.’ ”
Runners-up Saadiq Sumar and Anthony Goertz could not be reached for comment immediately following the announcement of the results.