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Sark contested election is the first for six years

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SARK will have a contested election for the first time in six years.

Lord Keen, the UK Government minister with responsibility for the Channel Islands, had warned that it might take the unprecedented step and intervene if Sark's government did not approve and his words have been heeded with the first contested election for Chief Pleas for six years. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 22619771)

Fifteen people will compete for nine seats in Chief Pleas in a move that has been described as good for government and for business.

An unelected government was one of the main concerns expressed by Lord Keen, the UK minister with responsibility for the Channel Islands, who said it was vital that the forthcoming elections ‘deliver a strong mandate to government going forward’.

Sark Chamber of Commerce president Tony Le Lievre believed this warning had had some effect.

‘We couldn’t continue in the same way, we were told in no uncertain terms that we couldn’t go on like that,’ he said.

‘In terms of business, it will make a difference because there is broader representation in there.’

While Chamber members such as Natalie Craik, Frank Makepeace and Michael Doyle will stand for election, Mr Le Lievre decided against doing so.

‘I have considered it many times in the past, but I am at a stage with my commitments with Sark Chamber and Sark First where I have got as much done from outside the tent than in it.’

Speaker of Chief Pleas and returning officer Arthur Rolfe said there had been significant interest across the community well in advance of yesterday’s closing date.

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‘I was aware of considerable interest among the people of Sark for standing and the numbers that have come forward do not surprise me at all,’ he said.

Islanders will go to the polls in the Toplis Room at the Island Hall on Wednesday 12 December.

The island was put on notice by Lord Keen last month that it needed to demonstrate good government or risk an unprecedented intervention from the UK.

Although the nine conseillers elected next month will be voted into the 18-seat Chief Pleas, the other half will be there without any public mandate.

In the last year, nine conseillers have resigned.

The 15 candidates are: Diane Baker, Helen Plummer, Edric Baker, Ellen Lalor, Amanda de Carteret, Rodney Lalor, John Guille, Christopher Drillot, Natalie Craik, Michael Doyle, William Raymond, Simon Couldridge, Frank Makepeace, Fern Turner and Philip Long.

Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter

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