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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 10:31 GMT
New race for Hollywood union job
Hollywood's actors union has 135,000 members
Hollywood's actors union has 135,000 members
Hollywood's actors union, The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has announced plans to re-run its hotly disputed presidential contest.

Former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert was elected president last November by a large majority over rival actress Valerie Harper, who starred in US show Rhoda.

However it has since emerged that the vote violated the union's constitution.

The guild's election committee ruled that because voters in New York were given an extra two days to return their votes, it gave an unfair advantage to certain candidates.

The decision deals a fresh blow to SAG's image after a public battle broke out between factions supporting Gilbert and Harper.

Fresh elections are also to be held for treasurer and recording secretary, which were won by Elliot Gould and Kent McCord.

Harper, Gould and McCord all contested the election results after questions over the voting procedure emerged.

New ballot

The election committee said in a statement: "The protests challenging the election of the three top national offices have merit and, therefore, the results of those elections are set aside."

Gilbert's publicist said she had no comment, but guild spokeswoman Ilyanne Kichaven said the former child star would stay on as president for the next three months.

The guild will mail out fresh ballots to its members across the country by 15 March.

A Hollywood strike was narrowly avoided last year as SAG threatened a walk-off of its members from films and TV.

The actors' unions had been demanding a better pay deal for their 135,000 members and an agreement was eventually reached with the Hollywood studios.

See also:

23 Oct 01 | Film
US actors back UK strike
21 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Union champions 'plus-size' actors
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