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Party system ‘will lead to more decisive States’

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FULL island-wide voting came out on top of a historic referendum and will be introduced in a huge change to Guernsey’s electoral system.

Option A campaigner Deputy Carl Meerveld outside St James, pleased with yesterday’s referendum result. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 22783087)

The 45.1% turnout, which saw 14,379 people vote, activates a commitment by the States to implement the winning option as long as the turnout reached 40%.

Option A led from the start as the preference voting system, which was used for the first time, whittled down the options with the least public support.

It led to a shoot-out between full island-wide voting and Option C, for a mixture of island-wide and district voting.

Option A came out on top with 6,017 votes, compared to 5,448.

It would also have won by a clear margin under a first-past-the-post system, as it came out on top in six of the seven electoral districts.

Campaigner Deputy Carl Meerveld said the public have been waiting 15 to 20 years to have their say on island-wide voting.

‘I feel relieved and overjoyed. I believe it will lead to a more effective and decisive government,’ he said.

‘I am happy that the electorate have decided to go ahead with the most democratic form of island-wide voting, which is everybody on the same day and hopefully elect the best people for the job.’

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He believes the advent of ‘political groupings’ will improve the machinery of government.

‘I absolutely expect and hope that more groupings will appear. I want to see groupings of individuals who work collaboratively together and bring to the States a plan for the way forward, rather than having a situation where we get a group of disparate strangers who, after election day, then spend a year getting to know each other.

‘There will be groups meeting in advance and having clear manifestos and objectives to bring to the electorate. I think this is progress and each individual can decide what they want to vote for – they can vote for one individual, they can vote for a handful of people, they can support a group or multiple groups, or try and support 38 people.’

The committee in charge of implementing the changes, the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee, will now start preparations for introducing island-wide voting and tackling some of the ‘practical issues’ that it presents.

Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter

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