Krishna Omkar has proposed a change to Union rules that would see his lifetime ban from running in elections lifted, allowing him to run for President again at the end of this term.
The proposal, which will be heard in the debating chamber on Thursday 31 January, removes the power of election tribunals to disqualify candidates for life.
It also lifts lifetime bans on those already barred from running in Union elections. Since Omkar is the only person subject to such a ban, the change would pave the way for the ex-Treasurer to stand in elections at the end of this term.
The motion was triggered after Omkar presented a petition signed by 30 Union members.Omkar originally brought the proposal before the debating society’s Standing Committee, who can send motions to the debating chamber without signatures.
However, he withdrew it after the group took half an hour to move past the first clause.Current President Emily Partington said that the Committee was not given enough notice about the motion.
“Rule changes need really wide consultation… We didn’t have enough time in Standing Committee,” she said.
Partington is setting up a working party to reform the Union’s rules, inviting suggestions from those that sat on the election tribunal and appeal board who barred Omkar during the vacation. She has mandated the Standing Committee to attend the working party’s sittings.
A source close to the Union questioned “the validity of retrospective legislation”, and said that some current officers were uncomfortable with “legislating on the basis of one case.”
Nominations for next term’s presidency close today, with elections scheduled to take place on Friday of fourth week.
Returning Officer Alexander Priest was this week forced to change the eligibility criteria for the Union by-election after he received no valid nominations by the original closing date of last Friday.
The eligibility requirements meant that only Charlotte Fischer and ex-Secretary Clare Hennessy were eligible to stand, but Fischer resigned from Standing Committee earlier this term and Hennessy was not willing to run.
In his official statement, Priest admitted that his original criteria were “unintentionally restrictive”. He said, “It would be manifestly unjust to penalise members by making the eligibility pool too restrictive.”