High attendance at MaasX election debate
Should the turnout of students in this month’s municipal elections be anywhere near as high as at last night’s event, then the organisers of the MaasX debate will be doubly pleased. The Maastricht Student Council will then have achieved its goal: motivating students to use their democratic right to vote. The Franz Palmzaal, the massive lecture hall of the UM School of Business and Economics, was almost filled to capacity (670 seats) on Monday night and those who had come for information and some measure of entertainment were not disappointed.
By far the majority of the fourteen parties participating in the Maastricht municipal elections of 21 March were present, and the lively debate touched on matters of real interest to UM students: sustainability, housing and nightlife. The language used on the night was English, to cater for the many international students in the city. These were given a fascinating little insight into local politics in the Netherlands.
Whenever the use of English threatened to cause confusion or participants failed to find the right word, the two moderators, professors Arie van de Lugt and Teun Dekker, intervened in a subtle way. They kept up the momentum during the debate, which never became tedious. Rector Magnificus Rianne Letschert tweeted about "passionate speeches" and: "No 24 hours opening of cafés and bars in Maastricht according to one of the debaters; 'You need to study'! Warm applause by the audience!"