Four years for Senators?
By Ryan Morrison
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
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.
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
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
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