Super constituencies and the end of Senators – States reform is back on the agenda

ANOTHER attempt to introduce super-constituencies and remove the office of Senator before Jersey’s next general election has been tabled for States approval.

 (29445408)
(29445408)

An electoral reform proposition lodged by the Privileges and Procedures Committee calls for the Island to be divided into nine voting districts, each returning between three and five representatives.

The suggested reforms are similar to those lodged by Senator Ian Gorst earlier this year, which were deferred and timed out in July.

Under the revised proposals, St Helier would still be divided into three constituencies but its voting boundaries would be changed to create north, central and south districts.

And the parish, which is currently underrepresented for the size of its population, would have 13 Members in the States, rather than its current ten.

Meanwhile, the country parishes would be joined together into larger constituencies, while the higher-population parishes of St Saviour, St Clement and St Brelade would be single voting districts.

The total number of States Members would remain at 49 and the 12 parish Constables would retain their automatic seat in the States Assembly. Under the proposals there would be no Islandwide Senatorial vote.

The PPC would like to see the changes effected, and a new independent boundaries commission established, in time for the next general election in 2022.

Electoral reform has been a sticky topic in Jersey politics for decades, with the pubic voting in favour of introducing six super constituencies in a referendum held in 2013.

In a further referendum in 2014, Islanders voted heavily in favour of keeping the Constables in the States.

Several attempts have been made since to enact reforms in line with the 2013 and 2014 referendum results but they have continually failed to win States approval.

The report accompanying the proposition says that the latest proposals are a ‘compromise’ attempting to satisfy different interested parties.

‘The significant variance in population size of the constituencies of the Constables, the parishes, makes achieving total voter equity and voter equality impossible without a significant increase in the number of States Members,’ it says.

‘[This is] something which is unlikely to be acceptable to the public. The Constables represent 24% of the Assembly. If we afford them ‘special case’ status, while also endeavouring to ensure the remaining 76% of Assembly membership is elected with an “equality in voting weight and power across the whole population”, significant remedy is achieved.’

The proposition is due to be debated on 1 December.

THE PPC’S LATEST PROPOSALS FOR JERSEY’S ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES:

District 1: St Helier South – 4 Members

District 2: St Helier Central – 5 Members

District 3: St Helier North – 4 Members

District 4: St Saviour – 5 Members

District 5: St Clement – 4 Members

District 6: St Brelade – 4 Members

District 7: St Mary, St Ouen and St Peter – 4 Members

District 8: St John, St Lawrence and Trinity – 4 Members

District 9: Grouville and St Martin – 3 Members

Plus 12 parish Constables

TOTAL: 49 Members

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More From The Jersey Evening Post

UK & International News