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  1. ITV Report

Senators and Constables could be axed from Jersey States under radical reforms

Committee Chairman Deputy Russell Labey argues it would create a fairer system Credit: ITV Channel TV

Radical reforms to Jersey's political system could see Senators scrapped and Constables lose their seats in parliament.

The proposals from the Privileges and Procedures Committee would instead see 46 Deputies elected across 9 districts.

Proposed electoral districts Credit: Jersey States' Privileges & Procedures Committee

Committee Chairman Deputy Russell Labey argues it would create a fairer system where politicians represent similar numbers of voters.

The changes, which will be debated this summer, would see the creation of a Boundaries Commission to determine the precise details of the new changes and ensure they're ready before the 2022 General Election.

This proposition is a direct response to a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association report which found an electoral system which remains overly complicated and cumbersome, constituency boundaries not drawn in line with international standards, areas of concern include the number of uncontested elections, disparity in the equality of the vote across districts and parishes, and low voter turnout.

– Deputy Labey

At the moment Jersey's States Assembly is made up of 49 politicians, comprising 8 Senators voted for on an island wide basis, 12 Constables each representing a parish, and 29 Deputies spread across 17 districts.

A separate report, published by the Statistics Unit earlier this month, found Jersey languished at the bottom of a league table of jurisdictions for 'civic engagement', highlighting the voter turnout at last year's General Election was 43%, compared to an average 69%. It came 39th out of 39 jurisdictions surveyed.

The proposals would allow Constables to also stand for election as a Deputy if they wished.

The Committee argues their proposed reforms would achieve four key aims:

  • each elector having the same number of votes
  • each vote holding the same value
  • constituencies of equal size in terms of population
  • a contest for each seat - so that every candidate faces an election - leading to greater voter participation.