Sark election 'fatally flawed', says newsletter editor

Kevin Delaney
Image caption Mr Delaney said it made it difficult to hold politicians to account

Voters in Sark's general election were not well enough informed about the candidates, according to the editor of the Sark Newsletter.

Kevin Delaney said: "Of the 14 elected, two gave us manifestos, that for me gives us a fatally flawed election.

"Without a manifesto how do we know what our politicians stand for? How can we hold them to account?"

However, some of the candidates said islanders preferred the personal touch in such a small community.

Out of the island's 600-strong population, 444 registered to vote and 77% of them turned out to vote in half of the island's 28 conseillers.

Mr Delaney said he hoped it would be an issue picked up by Sir Norman Browse, the election's independent observer.

Done differently

He said Sir Norman's term of reference included "that the electorate is to be provided with adequate, accurate information on which to make an informed political choice".

Successful candidate Robert Cottle, one of eight candidates the newsletter reported as producing a manifesto out of the 22 who stood, said it was just done differently in Sark.

He moved to the island four years ago, shortly before the first fully democratic election, and said he found everyone was really enthusiastic in getting involved.

Mr Cottle said: "Because it's such a small community it's very interpersonal, everybody talks to each other.

Image caption Mr Cottle said islanders approached him with their questions and concerns

"I put out a small letter, rather than a manifesto, and people have approached me with their concerns, asked me questions and what I thought.

"I think everybody knows, generally, how people stand on various things and like to talk to each other all the time so it's a real small community different kind of approach."

Lt Col Reg Guille, Seneschal and returning officer, said: "We're a much smaller community, we know each other very well and therefore people campaign on what they want."

He said people being known to each other was the reason for the high turnout of voters.

The call for candidates to issue manifestos has also been made by Charles Maitland, the chair of the General Purposes and Advisory Committee.

He and Mr Cottle were the two successful candidates who did issue a manifesto.

Conseiller Maitland has also called for a hustings - a meeting at which candidates answer voters questions - to be held.

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