Independent Candidate, Montaz Ali Azad (pictured right) & Councillor Abdul Jabbar (pictured left)
On May 6th, the results from Oldham’s local elections revealed that Montaz Ali Azad, an independent candidate, lost to Councillor Abdul Jabbar, standing for the Labour party, by a mere 71 votes. Mr Azad is now legally challenging the results.
2,171 votes were achieved by Mr Azad while Councillor Jabbar polled 2,242 votes. Mick Scholes stood for Coldhurst’s Liberal Democrats party, Jean Betteridge for the Green Party, David Cahill for Conservatives, while Montaz Ali Azad, a former Labour councillor, stood as an independent candidate.
Mr Azad claims that ‘the election was void’ and believes that the authorisation of a re-election is justifiable. Therefore, he has launched an election petition, detailing the reasons as to why he is challenging the results. The petition is also available to view on the council’s website.
In the petition, he claims that:
His “polling agents were not allowed to enter polling stations from 7am until around 12.30pm to represent (him) in the polling stations due to elections office error”
“the ballot boxes could not have been checked, it was empty before it was sealed by the presiding officers”
His “polling agents could not assist (him) in detecting incidences of personation (sic) by not being able to enter the polling stations”
“the polling station mobile unit co2, maygate, had a very small portacabin allowing one in one out which resulted in long queue and this deterred would be voters waiting in the adverse weather.”
The date for a hearing will be established following the launch of his petition, during which a judge may appoint a commissioner (who will examine the evidence, such as voting slips) to handle the complaint. Based on the decision of the commissioner, a trail may take place at the court. Both Mr Azad and Councillor Jabbar will be present at the trail and can bring witnesses as evidence. A period of several weeks is normally taken before a judgement is made, moreover, it is not possible to appeal this decision.