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Results in – now who will make Council of Ministers?

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WITH the results counted and the new States chosen, attention will now turn to the political deals, discussions and debates about who should – and will – make up the next Council of Ministers.

Chief Minister Ian Gorst arriving to vote at St Ouen’s Parish Hall on election day with his daughter Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (21471959)

Three candidates have emerged for the top job of Chief Minister so far, with incumbent Senator Ian Gorst – who has previously said he would seek re-election – facing a challenge from Senator-elect John Le Fondré, who polled consistently well across the Island to finish third, and Senator Lyndon Farnham, who finished a comfortable fourth and had previously set his sights on the job.

And there are calls for a woman to also throw her hat into the ring after Senator-elect Tracey Vallois topped the Senatorial poll, with Senator-elect Kristina Moore second. Jersey has never had a female Chief Minister.

Senator Gorst, who finished in sixth place despite having topped the poll at the last election, said early this morning when the final results were in that although he would have liked to have polled better, he was honoured to be returned for another term.

However, he lacked the previous confidence when asked if he would be standing for Chief Minister, instead saying he would now be ‘consulting with colleagues’.

Senator-elect Le Fondré – a Scrutiny stalwart who as one of the longest-serving States Members has repeatedly tried but failed to win seat at the Council of Ministers’ table – said he had the experience and now the mandate to compete for the top job.

‘I think that really someone serving two terms as Chief Minister is enough. I think that Ian [Gorst] would do very well as External Relations Minister, which will be a very important role with Brexit. I think that we could work together,’ he said.

Senator-elect Le Fondré has previously stood for Treasury Minister, including in 2014 when he was beaten by Senator Gorst’s candidate Senator Alan Maclean.

Senator Maclean is thought to have done a deal with Senator Gorst that time around, stepping aside as a potential challenger for the top job in exchange for being the first choice for Treasury Minister over Senator Philip Ozouf.

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Elsewhere, with six of the 11 incumbent ministers choosing to retire from politics, numerous Members who will make up the new House have expressed an interest in a ministerial post. Deputy Carolyn Labey has an interest in External Relations and Judy Martin could set her sights on challenging Deputy Susie Pinel for Social Security.

And Reform Jersey, which prior to election day had said the new States should be led by whoever has a mandate from voters to govern, look unlikely to make any inroads into the Council of Ministers after a disappointing performance only salvaged by the last-minute surge in support in St Helier for party chairman and now Senator-elect Sam Mézec, who scraped in in eighth place.

Although likely that with an Islandwide remit Senator-elect Mézec will challenge for some kind of ministerial post, if previous votes are anything to go by the addition of only two extra party candidates in the States will not be enough to ensure a Reform Member receives the backing of the Assembly. Fellow party Members Deputies Geoff Southern and Montfort Tadier also have a history of challenging for ministerial roles.

Meanwhile, Deputy Jeremy Maçon – who will be entering his fourth term in the States – has said he wants a ministerial post, although he said he is not yet sure which one and it would depend on who becomes Chief Minister.

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Deputy Scott Wickenden, an Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department with responsibility for digital, said he wants there to be a dedicated digital ministry and that he would be the man for the job.

Deputy Richard Renouf, the current chairman of the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel, has also said he wants to be a minister, but if he is interested in the Health portfolio then he is likely to face a challenge from Senator Sarah Ferguson, who told voters at the final Senatorial hustings in St Helier earlier this week that she had her eye on the job.

Senator-elect Vallois has previously kept her cards close to her chest when it comes to her plans if elected, although there is talk that she is interested in the Education job, where she has previously served as an Assistant Minister.

Similarly, Senator-elect Moore has previously said she would like a ministerial role but has not specified where. She had said she supported Senator Gorst for Chief Minister.

Senator-elect Steve Pallet also has experience as an Assistant Minister at Economic Development, where he has had responsibility for sport, and could challenge for the job if incumbent minister Senator Lyndon Farnham sets his sights elsewhere.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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