Maggie_chapman_ric2014

Chapman addressing the 2014 Radical Independence Conference. Photo: William Pinkney-Baird.

The Scottish Green Party has announced that Maggie Chapman has been re-elected as Co-convener, fending off a challenge from Glasgow branch Co-convener Zara Kitson.

Chapman was returned as “Female” Co-convener with 815 votes to Kitson’s 598, winning 58% of the vote.  Maggie will continue in her post alongside Patrick Harvie, who was uncontested as “Male” Co-convener.

Over 1,000 members voted using online voting for the first time in the party’s history.

Numerous internal positions were up for vote but it was the race for Co-convener which put the Scottish Greens in the media spotlight, making front page news alongside numerous online hustings and head-to-head Q&As, including Bright Green’s own.

Chapman has held the position since 2013, playing a key role in making the Greens a leading voice of Scotland’s radical left, including the vibrant Radical Independence Campaign, and working with Harvie in representing Greens on Smith Commission.

She pledged to continue in her role to strengthen the party into the 2016 elections:

“This has been a really exciting election, and I’m really pleased the Scottish Green Party has chosen my vision of a welcoming, socially just Scotland which works for good in the world.

“I am honoured over the past two years to have been able to lead the Scottish Greens to their best ever election result in the European election in 2014, and through a 7-fold increase in membership. I am also pleased to have been able to expand the appeal of the Scottish Greens like never before. I will continue to broaden the Green appeal. This result shows that we as a party won’t settle for our comfort zone.

“I congratulate Zara on her campaign, and look forward to working with her and the other candidates to deliver the best yet result for our party in the Holyrood election next year. The Holyrood election is a great opportunity for us to make a really big impact on Scottish politics and to give a voice to the movements that are changing and will change our country and our world.”

In a comment piece published before the result Kitson said:

“Although it might have been uncomfortable for some in the campaign ‘bubble’ as it were, this election has been held in a very constructive spirit. We can be a breath of fresh air compared to the stale kind of politics which is all too often alienating for women and young people in particular.”

“I’m chuffed that members, supporters and the public have had opportunity to hear from female voices of the party, and that Maggie and I have both been very visible and vocal during this campaign.”

Fellow Glasgow member Patrick Harvie, who received some criticism for publicly backing Kitson, was sharply criticised on Bella Caledonia today.  Debate over the role of Co-convener is likely to continue as the party undergoes a review of its internal structures during the next year.

Other results of the internal elections are as follows:

  • Sarah Beattie-Smith and Peter McColl were elected joint Conveners of Elections and Campaigns Committee.
  • Isla O’Reilly was elected unopposed at Council Vice-Convener.
  • Louise Ramsay and Sean Templeton were elected to convene Appeals, Conciliation and Arbitration Tribunal
  • Mary Johnston was elected unopposed as party Treasurer.
  • Peter Mountford-Smith was elected unopposed to convene Policy Committee.

Convener elections for International, Operations and Standing Orders Committees take place every two years and will next take place in Autumn 2016.  A full list of the results will soon be published on the Scottish Greens website.

Polling suggests that Scottish Greens will increase their share of the vote in May’s elections, in which the party is fielding both regional list and constituency candidates.

Ric Lander

About Ric Lander

Ric is a Co-Editor of Bright Green and writes on economics, climate change and Scottish politics. His work based in Edinburgh supports grassroots fossil free campaigning.