Jersey approves new law for Electoral reform

States Assembly
The election date has moved by a month, from 18 May to 22 June 2022. Credit: ITV Channel TV

The number of politicians in Jersey is to be cut and the General Election has been confirmed for June 2022.

The changes to the make up of the States Assembly were agreed in December 2020 and will be introduced in time for the 2022 election.

On 21 April two amendments brought by Senators Gorst and Senator Farnham, sought to save the role of the Senator. Both amendments were rejected, paving the way for the agreed reforms to proceed. The reforms will see the island-wide role of Senators axed, and replaced with:

  • 37 district representatives

  • Across 9 electoral districts

  • 12 Constables

The Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) is bringing in the changes in two stages, the first including the revision of the Constitution of the States and Public Elections Law, which States Members debated today (22 April). The draft law amends the Constitution of the States Assembly by removing Senators and increasing the number of Deputies with effect from 22 June 2022.It also replaces the current schedule of Deputies' constituencies with the new electoral districts.Also approved, was a change to the election date from 18 May to 22 June.

The change was made to avoid the impact of Easter, the May Bank Holiday and Liberation Day which made the election period "particularly difficult in 2018 on a practical level".An amendment by Senator Gorst to retain the original election date of 18 May, on the basis that it was undemocratic for the Assembly to extend their own term of office, was defeated.He did however, succeed in preventing a further change to individual States Members' terms of office. The PPC had proposed it should end on the day of election.

Currently, a minister who is not re-elected retains their post until a new Assembly is constituted and new members take their oath of office.  The practical implication of PPC's proposals, he pointed out, was that the Chief Minister would be "left in sole charge" until a new government was appointed. This is usually a period of three weeks. The amendment was accepted by PPC.The announcement of nominations and start of campaigning, will now occur after Liberation Day.

But it is still envisaged that the entire process up to an appointment of Chief Minister, Ministers, Scrutiny Chairs and other Chairs, would be concluded in time for the summer recess around the third week of July.