Jersey politicians reject referendum reform move

Town Hall Polling Station Some politicians argued there was a lack of support for change as only 26% of voters turned out

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Politicians have rejected plans to reform Jersey's parliament voted for in an island-wide referendum.

Islanders supported a move to abolish the office of senator, reduce the number of politicians in the States and introduce large voting districts.

Members voted 28 against, 21 in favour. Constable Len Norman abstained from the vote.

The decision means suggested changes to the reforms put forward by some politicians were not debated.

The referendum, held in April, put three options to the public - two to change the system and one to maintain the status quo.

The winning option received 8,190 votes after a 26% turnout from registered voters.

It suggested a reduction in the number of politicians from 51 to 42, with 30 deputies elected from six equal districts and a constable elected from each of the 12 parishes.

Analysis

The result was not a surprise as the majority of speeches had been against the planned reforms.

The reform options presented by the commission were far from perfect, according to many of the speeches that have focused on the unfairness St Helier voters will face because their votes will count as less than those in other parishes.

Other members have claimed the reforms involve cutting the size of the States too far and question how deputies would cope in super constituencies.

Following the vote, Constable Simon Crowcroft resigned as chairman of the Privileges and Procedures Committee, which brought the proposals to the States.

Deputy Montfort Tadier, vice chairman, said: "Clearly feelings and passions are running high and that is not the kind of atmosphere [in which] level-headed decisions are made.

"If we could have voted on the amendments first I think it would have got through, it would have created near voter equity, taking away the greatest inequity and I could have got behind that.

"I don't see the harm in leaving this a few weeks, let the dust settle.

"I would still like to see reform by 2014 even if it is just in the way we elect members to this assembly, moving to single transferable vote."

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