Parish politics boost on the back of IWV general election

WOMEN are closing the gender gap in parish politics after a record-breaking turnout of voters for the douzaine elections.

Parish meetings in St Martin’s normally attract 20 people, but this year there was record turnout of 140 and a deferred election of douzeniers on 18 November. (Picture supplied by Dave Beausire)
Parish meetings in St Martin’s normally attract 20 people, but this year there was record turnout of 140 and a deferred election of douzeniers on 18 November. (Picture supplied by Dave Beausire)

Out of the eight parishes which held elections, there are now 12 female douzeniers and 16 men.

St Peter Port and St Martin’s both deferred their elections until Wednesday 18 November so that polling stations can be set up and voting will not be limited to just those at the parish meeting.

Across the island there were packed halls for the douzaine elections.

In St Martin’s, which usually struggles to attract 20 people to parish meetings, there was a record turnout of 140.

Senior constable Jeff Wilkes-Green said the changes to the general election have reinvigorated the parochial elections, and people recognise that serving on the douzaine is a meaningful way to improve day-to-day living.

‘It must be down to the issues raised by island-wide voting and people are generating more interest in parish affairs, which is most welcome.’

Last year there was only one parish election which had more candidates than seats, but this year there were due to be five contested douzaine elections, although a last-minute drop-out meant that was reduced to four.

St Sampson’s had the most drama of the night because there were 12 candidates chasing four seats, and there were two recounts and one tie-break.

Eventually Julie Creed, Kim Abbotts and Jennifer Marquand were elected, alongside existing douzenier Dave Hugo.

The group Women in Public Life was set up earlier this year to encourage women to run for public office, and chairman Shelaine Green was delighted to see to many new candidates breaking through.

Out of the 19 new female candidates, nine were elected and eight are involved in the deferred elections.

Voting has to be in person in the deferred elections because there is no postal voting. The results are expected that night.

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