Sacc to ask States to put election back until October

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A MOVE to change the date of the general election to October, or possibly June 2021, will be made by the States’ Assembly and Constitution Committee.

Sacc president Neil Inder said his committee recognised that it was a ‘very significant decision’ for a government to extend its own term, but it was the only viable option as the island is gripped by the coronavirus. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 27684056)

A report from the committee said that it had explored all avenues to enable the election to take place as scheduled in June this year, but the progress of the Covid-19 virus had influenced its decision.

‘Faced with evidence about the anticipated spread of the virus and its ongoing impact, [the committee] believes it has no option but to ask the States to agree to a postponement.

‘The committee recognises that it is a very significant decision for a government to extend its own term, which is why it has considered very carefully whether there are any viable alternatives to postponing the election.

‘Despite exploring all avenues, it has come to the conclusion that any election in June would be most unlikely to be sufficiently free, fair and safe.’

If members approve, the election would be postponed and deputies’ terms of office will be extended to 29 October.

The election would be rescheduled for 21 October, but Sacc would come back in July with a review of the situation and either recommend proceeding with the election this year, or, if the situation demands, moving it to 16 June next year.

The electoral roll would remain open and a date for its closure would be recommended later. Several States meetings would be moved or cancelled as a result of the changes.

No policy letters, apart from emergency matters, would be able to be submitted after 2 April and an effort would be made to spread business evenly over the remaining meetings, which would take place on 27 May, 24 June, 22 July, 19 August and 9 September. Meetings scheduled for 5 May, 1 July, 3 July, 7 July, 13 July, 21 July and 2 September would be cancelled.

At the moment the financial implications of a delay are unknown, but the project team supporting the election will be looking at these in the coming weeks, said Sacc.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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