[Continued from Part 1 published yesterday which you can read here.]
Interestingly, voters used an average of 26 votes out of the 38 they could use.
143 voting slips were rejected because of people voting for too many candidates.
Thus there could be calls to change to voting for all the candidates in order of preference in the future, as this could not happen with this system. A total of 637,770 votes were cast by 24,647 voters ( out of 30,899 eligible ones), as opposed to 21,803 voters in the 2016 Election.
As for voter registration, that has only increased slightly at 31,301, up from 30,320 in 2016 and 29,745 in 2012.
Guernsey voter registration is just 63% of those eligible to be on the electoral roll, so it means that 37% of those eligible to be on the electoral roll were therefore not able to vote. This means that two-thirds of those in Guernsey were franchised to vote and a third not. This is not a positive, but a problem in many democratic jurisdictions and one Guernsey is working on to improve.
If comparisons are made with the UK, there were 3415 candidates in the December 2019 General Election for 650 seats which gave candidates in theory less than a one in five chance of being elected, but in practice not taking into account their “safe” seats scenario and first past the post electoral system. There were 3250 candidates representing 68 political parties and only 206 independent candidates.
In Guernsey there were a total of 40 candidates representing political groupings which would concern some as if they had won all the seats, they would completely control the agenda. Many in Guernsey were concerned that these would act like political parties and effectively “whip” their members into voting in certain ways, but these claims have been denied.
The rest of the candidates- 78- were Independents ( who were made up of 18 current States Members and 5 former States Members).
Of the political groupings:
- The Guernsey Partnership of Independents (GPI)- 21 candidates-(made up of 11 present and 4 former States Members and 6 newcomers)
- The Guernsey Alliance Party (GAP)- 11 candidates- (all newcomers)
- The Guernsey Party (GP)– 8 candidates- (all newcomers)
Standing under a “party” banner was a mixed blessing, as it seemed to help some and hinder other candidates. Guernsey is a place where Independent politics is highly valued, yet 16 “party” grouping candidates were elected, with the remaining 22 seats being won by Independents.
There will now be a battle for who will be Chief Minister and who will run the key government Committees.
The Guernsey Partnership of Independents grouping won 10 seats and the Guernsey Party 6 seats, so they will likely be trying to obtain the support of the Independents in coming contests for key political positions.
There were 28 women and 91 men candidates, so a ratio of approximately one to three.
Although, like many places, Guernsey has had pressure for more female candidates and indeed at the previous election made concerted efforts to bring this about, generally the consensus is that it is merit which should count at the ballot box, not gender. This was reflected in the voting results which saw just 8 women being elected ( as opposed to 12 before).
Eleven sitting Deputies lost their seats, five men and six women, and three major Committee Presidents lost their seats. A further 9 sitting Deputies did not stand, which meant that the new States of Guernsey is made up of 18 of the previous Members and 20 newcomers ( one of whom was a previous Deputy)
Guernsey now has all politicians elected by the whole Island to represent the Island, rather than the former District electoral system (which had the big disadvantage of not subjecting them to full Island electorate accountability). In neighbouring Jersey, the situation is less straightforward with a current mix of 8 Islandwide elected Senators, 29 Deputies for Parishes and Districts, and 12 Parish Connetables. This is roughly the system which Guernsey used to have but changed some years ago.
There is nowhere else in the world which offers this immense choice to the electors.
It is true that there are some jurisdictions like Sark and Alderney and indeed a number of British Overseas Territories that elect all their politicians on a one constituency basis.
However, their populations are much smaller and inevitably the responsibilities are not as extensive as that of the Guernsey States.
There are larger jurisdictions, such as Fiji, Israel and Mozambique, which have whole country-type constituencies, but they are still dissimilar because they have proportional representation and party lists. It is thus exceptionally difficult for Independents to become elected.
There are countries such as the Philippines where a proportion of the politicians are elected on a nationwide basis and some independents do get elected. This is effectively similar to the previous Island wide Conseiller system Guernsey used to have. Indeed, I was the last Island wide Conseiller elected at a by-election in 1998. (There were 12 such Conseillers, considered to be the more senior politicians).
In Guernsey, the new concept of the elector being able to vote for every single representative is much more democratic and accountable. The system is based on voting for the individual and voting in the individuals best suited to be Members of the States of Guernsey.
This historic move by Guernsey has the potential to change how many world countries view democracy and voting rights.
Guernsey should be proud of this achievement.