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Israr Khan wins Oxford Union presidency

Israr Khan has been elected Oxford Union President for Hilary Term 2025 with 617 first preferences against opponent Izzy Horrocks-Taylor’s 393 first preferences. The margin is significantly wider than in the Union’s previous two elections, when the top two candidates only differ by a handful of votes. 

Rachel Haddad Moskalenko, Moosa Harraj, and Siddhant Nagrath won the elections for Librarian, Treasurer, and Secretary respectively.

The Union faced significant controversy this week after the disqualification of previous President-elect Ebrahim Osman-Mowafy caused allegations against the Union’s tribunal process for disproportionally “targeting diverse representatives.”

Khan’s campaign focused on combating “institutional racism” within the Union, while Horrocks-Taylor’s campaign emphasised “female representation on committees and in our term cards.”

Subsequently, three of the Union’s committees – the Standing Committee, Secretary’s Committee, and Consultative Committee – all declared the Oxford Union “institutionally racist”. During Thursday’s debate, 17 Union Committee members threatened to resign as part of a protest in favour of Osman-Mowafy’s reinstatement. 

Two of the Union’s last three president-elects were ultimately disqualified before assuming office. In the third election, the candidate, Hannah Edwards, ran unopposed.

Following his victory, Khan told Cherwell: “I am incredibly grateful to the members of the Oxford Union for placing their trust in me by electing me as President and to my team for believing in me. This election was crucial, especially during such challenging times. There is a significant amount of work ahead, and I am committed to leading the Union on a more inclusive path and restoring its relevance. Thank you for your support, and together, we will make a meaningful difference.”

Candidates elected to the Standing Committee, in order of most votes to least, are: Anya Trofimova, Sarah Rana, Hamza Hussain, George Abaraonye, Ben Murphy, and Raza Nazar. Candidates elected to the Secretary’s Committee are: Tobe Onyia, Veer Sangha, Akshay Nagpal, Boldi Paladi-Kovacs, Zarin Fariha, Michael Leslie, Katherine Yang, Makkunda Sharma, Benjamin Masters, Sophia Giblett, and Jennifer Yang.

This term’s election saw 1187 valid votes cast, a small increase from last election, which saw 1158 cast. It continues a trend of increasing turnout: 987 were cast in MT23 and 590 in TT23. 

Israr Khan will be the third Pakistani President of the Oxford Union and the first to come from the Balochostin province. He was congratulated on his election win by Pakistani Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, on X. Sharif said: “I join the people of Pakistan in extending heartiest congratulations to Israr Khan for being elected President of Oxford Union for Hiliary Term 2025… You have made the entire nation proud!” In response, Khan expressed his gratitude for the “overwhelming support and kind words” and assured that he “will make sure to use this platform for good.” 

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