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States vote to postpone election

States vote to postpone election

Wednesday 15 April 2020

States vote to postpone election


The first ever island-wide election will be pushed back a year until 2021.

The committee in charge of delivering the election, The States Assembly and Constitution Committee, proposed moving the election to October this year, with the option of reviewing that further in July and postponing until next June if necessary.

An amendment by Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, on behalf of Policy & Resources, suggested the States defer the election straight to June 2021 without the possibility of an interim date. It was successful by 22 votes to 15. 

He said the States needed to make a clearcut decision now during "unparalelled and unprecedented times".

"This will provide for continuity with the current politicians to steer the Bailiwick through what is an unknown period of extreme stress on the economy, public finances and the community in the context of the continuation of Brexit negotiations which as yet themselves have not been deferred by the primary parties. It also provides the opportunity for the recovery of the public service that is now being stretched to meet extraordinary demands and will continue to be for an undetermined period to come."

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 Pictured: The States have met virtually this week using Microsoft Teams.

The first ever island-wide election has taken eight months so far to organise and Deputy Le Tocq said it was not realistic to make all the adjustments that would need to be made for an October election in the current corona virus environment.

"Having certainty over planning for this election due to the circumstances likely to be needed makes it much better for making sure it is fair and free."

The proposals in full still need final approval but are almost certain to be passed.

The only remaining amendment to the current election proposals, which have superseded Sacc's original recommendations, is to instead hold the election in April 2021. That last-minute amendment has been proposed by Sacc members Deputies Emilie McSwiggan and Jennifer Merrett in response to Deputy Le Tocq's successful amendment.

It is a formality that the election itself will be delayed, it has only ever been a question of when to.

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Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier said there was "not a cat's chance in hell" of the island being in a position to decide whether to proceed or not in July with an October election.

Sacc President Deputy Neil Inder criticised the amendment and the Deputies who said there was no modelling of the coronavirus curve available, questioning whether that was true or whether that information was just not be shared with the rest of the States. His reasons for holding an October election, which has been thrown out, can be read here.

He said the States should not extend their term longer than necessary for democratic reasons and if the CCA genuinely doesn't know where we are on the curve now - an argument made against an October election - then the same comments would apply to a June election.

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