Ascension : SECOND BY-ELECTION VOID
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 19.04.2012 (Article Archived on 03.05.2012)
Following the unsuccessful attempt to hold a by-election on 25 October 2011 due to just one member of the Electorate putting his name forward as a candidate,
I was informed by Government officials that changes to the relevant Ordinance will be addressed before another by-election. Accordingly, I simply thought the necessary changes would be agreed as we would want to avoid a repeat of the previous failed attempt to hold a by-election.
Six months on and I have been informed that because, once again, I was the only candidate, the by-election scheduled for the 25 April 2012 is void.
Once again the people of Ascension should have been better informed by the Ascension Island Government. I requested an explanation from the Administrator; the following is his reply:
“I did indeed consult the Council and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on changing the Ordinance to bring in a system of election by acclamation. This was part of a wider process of reforming the electoral system including changes to the voter eligibility criteria and the quorum minimum for current and future Councils. The conclusion was that membership of the Council should be based on success in an election. There was a concern that if election by acclamation were accepted then through further resignations the Council could be made up entirely or predominantly by individuals who had not actually faced an election and thus not received a vote. It was a difficult conclusion to come to but in a desire to promote democratic principles on Ascension, it was the right one.”
In reply, my view is: Each member of the Electorate has the opportunity to put forward his/her name to serve as a representative on the council. If only one member decides to be a candidate for a by-election then the whole of the Electorate has spoken – what is undemocratic about that?
The Administrator has agreed to look again at changing the Ordinance to help improve the possibility of a successful by-election at the third attempt.