We must double the term of office if we want the profession’s figurehead to achieve anything meaningful
One thing is certain: it wouldn’t have taken very long to count the ballots in the RIBA presidential election. But then again it never does. With an 18.97% turnout, just one in five bothered to vote and Alan Jones emerged as our new president.
Turnout rates have been fluctuating between 16% and 18% for a decade. The election of Sunand Prasad in 2006 was a notable exception when 27% rushed to the booths. I have to say I had high hopes that there would be a better turnout this year as the campaign was certainly spicier than usual, making the pages of the Guardian and the Financial Times who referred to it as a “bitter” campaign. I was convinced that with extra coverage and accusations of institutional racism, financial mismanagement and death threats, our collective interests would peak. But no, a mere 3% more voted than two years earlier. It did make me wonder what it would take to get us interested, but I don’t think that even a celebrity death match between the next presidential candidates, Hunger Games-style, on the steps of Portland Place would see the turnout bother the 30% mark.
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