A short list of 9 persons for the three non States member positions on the Jersey Electoral Commission has been drawn up out of 25 applicants. We may never know who applied and whether they did so with any genuine hope, but the list of nine will no doubt appear soon.
When the Electoral Commission was first mooted last year there was a belief that it might take a fresh look at the stalled process of democratic reform and reinvigorate the initiative laid down in 2000 by the Clothier Report. It was a short lived hope.
This stage in the selection of three “lay” candidates for the Electoral Commission offers some insights into what has been happening and is likely to continue in the future. The letter to unsuccessful candidates (see below) explicitly states that the “chosen” have been selected by none other that the Commission chairman, Senator Bailhache and a member of PPC. That member it should be noted is not the chairman of PPC, but Senator Sara Ferguson, a loyal supporter of Senator Bailhache. If those chosen turn out to be simply friends and pals that share similar views and vision, it should come as no surprise. Once independence was lost and States Members controlled the process the Commission’s legitimacy was always going to be suspect.
The Electoral Commission has become and will remain highly contentious in a way that the Clothier and Carswell enquiries never were. Every step in the process will be contested. Democratic political forces in the island realised quite quickly what was happening and organised themselves to mount a resistance. That will continue, as no doubt will the scepticism of cynics to unfolding events.