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28 October 2014

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States Reform

You are in: Jersey > Inside the States > States Reform > Four years for Senators?

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Four years for Senators?

New plans could lead to a shorter term of office and fewer Senators in the States.

There have been more propositions, ideas and suggestions for reform of the States of Jersey than I can remember – we have a whole index full of them.

So far either none or only a small part of these suggestions have actually been approved by States Members in the Chamber.

Inside the States of Jersey

Inside the States of Jersey

So the fate of the latest proposal by the Privileges and Procedures Committee doesn’t look overly promising.

Still the idea is there so let’s take a look at it.

The most recent reform to be passed by the States Members was an increase in the term of office for Deputies from three to four years – to bring it into line with the term of office for Constables.

Well this leaves a slight problem with Senators who serve a six year term – with six of the 12 elected in alternate three year periods.

The latest proposal is apparently to try to avoid “electoral chaos”. The idea is to reduce the six year period of Senators to four and reducing their number eventually to eight.

The proposal hasn’t been lodged yet but a statement of intent was made in the States Assembly by Constable Derek Grey, Chairman of the Privileges and Procedures Committee.

Constable Derek Gray (from States Assembly)

It didn’t take long for some members to protest the idea. Some in the house appear to show they prefer what would happen now without reform and have seven elections by 2020.

Constable Derek Gray suggested the changes after the States decided that Deputies and Constables should be allowed to serve for four years.

Now - Constable Gray says Senators should only serve for four years as well.

Answering criticism in the States, he said the Committee was trying to make the best out of a confused situation...

He told the States "We have tried to make a rational way forward out of, I think, a completely confused position. That's all we're trying to do - it is up to this assembly to decide whether they approve that way forward or not.”

The proposal covers these simple steps

1. Election for Constables in Autumn 2008 autumn with a four year term
2. Four years for Deputies elected in 2008
3. Four Senators elected in 2008 serving for four years
4. Four more Senators elected in 2011 to serve 5 years
5. Senators and Constables elected on the same day with Deputies shortly after in 2016

These plans would also see a small reduction in the number of States Members. It would see the house reduced to 51 members by 2008 and 49 by 2011.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on these proposals? Do the reforms go far enough or would you like to see more done to make the States accept more radical reform?

Is reform really necessary? Should things be left as they are but with more done to encourage people to go out and vote?

last updated: 09/10/07

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

chimpface
Reform is not the problem. An ignorant, over-indulged electorate is the problem. Nothing will ever change unless people take the time to learn about politics, economics, the judiciary. Knowledge is power, and time and time again I see it horribly lacking in my fellow islanders. For shame.

Dan
I think the current system is a mess and needs a radical overhaul. There should be a general election in which the electorate can vote for Senators, Deputies and Connetables on one day and all should serve the same length of time (say four years). That way the States Assembly returned is a true representation of the people. That way there is a level playing field for candidates and the electorate can vote in an entire legislature that has to work together to get things done. It also gets rid of the system where a failed Senatorial candidate can get in the back door by standing for Deputy.

Nicolas Jouault
The problem with local polititcs is the electorate who vote in those with a limited manifesto. Clothier stated that all those standing should have a manifesto, low and behold at the last election we had the usual lack of people nailing their colours to the mast, well their was the JDA who changed their colours every two minutes and lost party members in a massive walk out.Nothing will change in Jersey the rich will milk it for all its worth and the less well off will become even more lethargic and more detached. Who can blame the electorate for apathy when society and the States is flagging in its basic obligations of equality.

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