The Battle for Guernsey's Chief Minister: Who will win?

Credit: ITV Channel TV
  • Blog by ITV reporter Hamish Auskerry

Blog by ITV reporter Hamish Auskerry Credit: ITV Channel TV

In the early hours of last Friday morning, Guernsey's Central Returning Officer Gordon Snell read out one-by-one the names and vote totals of all 119 candidates who stood in the General Election.

We have had a recount since then, which did change some of the totals, but crucially did not affect which 38 people have been elected to become Deputies in the States of Guernsey.

You could be forgiven for thinking you have heard the end of talk about the election. You would be wrong.

On Friday morning, the newly elected Deputies will themselves vote for who they want to be the new President of the Policy and Resources Committee. In Guernsey, that makes you the de-facto Chief Minister.

Over the last four and a half years, that role has been occupied by Deputy Elect Gavin St Pier.

After the last election in 2016, St Pier narrowly beat fellow Deputy Peter Ferbrache to the position. Voting in the States for the role of Chief Minister is done in secret, so no one knows exactly which Deputies provided the deciding votes.

Peter Ferbrache is back to fight for the role again this year.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache was voted in as head of the island's Policy & Resources Committee by his fellow politicians. Credit: ITV Channel TV

I will bring positivity, directness, experience, ability to run a business, ability to think clearly.

Deputy Elect Peter Ferbrache
Deputy Elect Gavin St Pier Credit: ITV Channel TV

Clearly what I'll bring is the continuity and the experience of having done the role for the last four and a half years. But also what I will be pitching tomorrow is the programme of change, which will be required to respond to where we are in terms of the recovery from the Covid situation and the challenges we face over the next four years.

Deputy Elect Gavin St Pier

Peter Ferbrache has positioned himself as the "change candidate" and the fresh face. He was first elected in 1994, but then went on to have a career in law, only returning the States in 2016.

"He isn't a new face of course", Gavin St Pier said, "he has been in the States in a senior role in the last four years".

In response, Peter Ferbrache said: "I've only been back in active politics for the last four and a half years - that's still a long time - I still sat around for the last term. I bear my degree of responsibility for the lack of action taken in the last term but I am a fresh face in the sense that I would be a different Chief Minister".

So what are the two candidates' overall hopes for the new States term?

"We need to create a more cohesive States and I think we're in a position to do that", Gavin St Pier said.

"We can't spend days and days deciding whether or not to change a decision we only made three months ago", Peter Ferbrache said, "we do not have the luxury of time".

There could yet be a late challenger or two for the two leading candidates. There is no cut off period for Deputies to say they want to stand - so we could be telling a very different story tomorrow.

Names that had been in the punditry hat included Andrea Dudley-Owen, Mark Helyar and Heidi Soulsby, but as far as we know, none of them will ask for the States' support on Friday.

Ferbrache and St Pier will be nominated by a fellow Deputy, each will make a short speech, and by lunchtime - we should know who will lead Guernsey into its next States chapter.

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