Candidates could have all their election expenses published for the public to see under new regulations to be proposed by Guernsey’s States Assembly & Constitution Committee (SACC).
Under current rules, candidates are required to declare their campaign expenditure – capped at £6,000 at the 2020 election - to the States which are then scrutinised by a dedicated election team, but the specifics do not have to published.
Political parties were allowed to spend £9,000 in 2020, with up to half of party candidates’ personal allowance able to be transferred.
Seb Lowe, Executive Officer of SACC, said it’s “important to be as transparent as possible”, and giving candidates and the States powers to publish itemised spending throughout elections campaigns would help achieve that goal.
This could include breakdowns of the totals spent on social media advertising, websites, flyers, and adverts placed in the traditional media.
Officials noted that concerns were raised following the previous election about campaigns run by individuals and groups, but no discrepancies were found within the declarations.
SACC’s political members - Deputies Carl Meerveld, Lester Queripel, Simon Fairclough, Liam McKenna, and John Gollop – unanimously accepted officer recommendations. These new regulations will form part of an election policy letter which should be debated by the States Assembly before the end of the year.
If agreed by deputies, the changes would be in force in time for the next general election set for June 2025.
Pictured: No candidate or party was found to have spent above the maximum limits in 2020.
Deputy Gollop labeled the new rules “radical” and said they would “completely change the electoral landscape in many ways”.
But he feared it may dissuade some people from standing for election, and may hamper the activities of the political parties of the day
These concerns were dismissed by his Committee colleagues, with Deputy Fairclough struggling to see “why anyone should have a problem” with the proposed changes, and that parties naturally have greater resources and reach.
He added that some candidates and groups “exploited” loose rules in the run up to the 2020 election and therefore the “guidelines need to be as explicit as possible”.
The period where candidates and parties would be obliged to declare expenditure would run for a period of approximately three months – from nominations to polling day.
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