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Poll success leads to calls for a woman Chief Minister

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WOMEN dominated the Senatorial election, with all four female candidates receiving substantial support across the Island and two emerging as poll toppers in nine out of the 12 parishes.

Deputy Louise Doublet and Deputy-elect Jess Perchard enjoyed success on a good night for women in the Senatorial election. Picture: JON GUEGAN (21476829)

And there are now calls for a female politician to stand for the top job of Chief Minister – which would be a first for Jersey.

However, despite the Senatorial results, a record number of women standing for election and the addition of three new female faces in the States, the overall number of female States Members has only risen by one.

The class of 2014 had 12 female States Members, representing around a quarter of the 49 seats available.

And following last night’s results – in which Deputy Tracey Vallois topped the poll with Deputy Kristina Moore a close second – 13 Members of the new House are female.

Several other female candidates gained seats in the Deputy election, including Jess Perchard in St Saviour No 3 and Carina Alves in St Helier No 2.

The success of female candidates follows a campaign by Women in Politics, a new group aiming to get more women into local politics.

The organisation’s joint-chair Toni Roberts said the support for the female Senatorial candidates was testament to the candidates themselves and their vision for Jersey.

And she said it would now be good to see a female politician putting herself forward for the job of Chief Minister, who will be chosen by the new Assembly at its first sitting on 4 June.

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In a comment published on page 8, she said: ‘Women dominated the Senatorial election with all four women candidates engaging the electorate and receiving substantial votes. This is an acknowledgement of the calibre of the women candidates and their vision for Jersey. It would be good for a woman Senator to put her hat in the ring to stand for Chief Minister.’

Four women featured in the top eight for much of the night in the Senatorial election – with Deputy Moore topping the poll in five parishes and Deputy Vallois four. As the results rolled in the two women topped the poll in parish after parish, with Deputy John Le Fondré knocking them off the top in St Mary and St Lawrence and Deputy Sam Mézec on home turf in St Helier.

Senator Sarah Ferguson and Moz Scott were also in the top eight until the final result from St Helier – when Ms Scott was overtaken by Deputy Mézec to finish ninth – meaning that all the female Senatorial candidates polled well.

Meanwhile, three new female faces will join the States for the next term, Reform Jersey’s Carina Alves in St Helier No 2, ex police inspector Mary Le Hegarat in St Helier No 3/4 and teacher Jess Perchard in St Saviour No 3.

However, one serving female Member – St Mary Constable Juliette Gallichan – lost her seat in a closely-fought election eventually won by John Le Bailly.

The other women who will make up the class of 2018 are: Deputy Carolyn Labey (unopposed in Grouville), Constable Sadie Rennard (unopposed in St Saviour), Constable-elect Karen Shenton-Stone (unopposed in St Martin), Constable Deidre Mezbourian (unopposed in St Lawrence), Deputy Judy Martin (St Helier No 1), Susie Pinel (St Clement) and Louise Doublet (St Saviour No 2).

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
author

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