THE Council of Ministers will have a very different look when the States Assembly reconvenes following a dramatic election night.
Voters across the Island delivered a damning indictment on the last four years as the Council of Ministers was decimated.
With four ministers opting not to seek re-election and a further four – most dramatically Chief Minister John Le Fondré – crashing out of the States, two-thirds of the ministerial team will not be returning to the Chamber. Add to that a number of assistant ministers who also lost their seats and there is a strong chance that some political newcomers will step up to fill senior roles.
The only ministers from the past four years who retained their seats were Senators Ian Gorst and Lyndon Farnham and Deputies Carolyn Labey and Kevin Lewis.
Ahead of the election,four candidates had touted themselves as potential Chief Ministers – but Jersey Alliance leader Sir Mark Boleat failed to secure a seat.
That leaves Reform Jersey leader Senator Sam Mézec, Jersey Liberal Conservatives leader Sir Philip Bailhache, who is heading up his party’s coalition with the Progress Party, and Senator Kristina Moore as the declared candidates to battle it out for the Assembly’s top job, although others may yet throw their hats into the ring.
The early favourite appears to be Deputy-elect Moore who a number of the successful candidates suggested for Chief Minister when asked by the JEP ahead of the election.
If she is successful in her bid, she would become the first female to hold the role.
Fresh off the back of topping the poll in the hotly contested district of St Ouen, St Peter and St Mary, Deputy-elect Moore said: ‘I am really heartened that I openly committed to that intention as part of my campaign.’
Meanwhile, Sir Philip confirmed that he would be putting his name forward adding: ‘I will offer myself as a candidate and leave it to the States Assembly to decide.’
Deputy-elect Mézec was a little more apprehensive about confirming whether he would be a Chief-Minister candidate, saying that he would discuss with fellow Reform Jersey members ‘what role we can play in the next government’.
He added that he would be willing to work with Deputy-elect Moore if she was successful but that it would ‘have to be on an understanding of our manifesto and our aspirations’.
‘We were elected on the basis of our policies and we are not going to ditch those policies just for a fancy title,’ he added.
His Reform Jersey colleagues Deputies Montfort Tadier and Rob Ward both expressed interest in ministerial roles.
Last year, Deputy Ward narrowly lost out in the race to become Education Minister and said he would be open to putting himself forward for that role again, or taking on the Environment Minister job vacated by Deputy John Young.
Meanwhile, Deputy Tadier, a former Assistant Economic Development Minister, said: ‘I am open-minded and would serve in any position where my skills could be put to good use. It would be good to re-establish myself at Economic Development and work on strengthening our links abroad, especially with France, and I retain a strong interest in culture, languages and the arts.’
However, if he wants the role of Economic Development Minister, he may have to do battle with Deputy Kirsten Morel who admitted that ‘economic development is where I would want to end up’ although he admitted that it was perhaps ‘too early to say’.
And sitting Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham may want to extend his time in that job to a third term. Senator Farnham also expressed an interest in the Chief Minister’s job in 2018 and has not ruled out running for it again.
External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said prior to the election that he wanted to stay in his role while former Environment Minister Deputy Steve Luce refused to rule out returning to the position he held between 2014 and 2018 but said that the ‘first thing to do is find out who will be Chief Minister’. He added: ‘If I find myself being asked to do a job with a Chief Minister I can work with, I’d be delighted to be offered something.’
Deputy Carolyn Labey has suggested she would be interested in keeping her current International Development portfolio or possibly taking on the External Relations brief.
Political newcomers Deputies-elect Helen Miles and Elaine Millar refused to rule out ministerial roles. Deputy-elect Miles expressed an interest in the Home Affairs gig while Deputy-elect Millar said: ‘It would be an honour to have a ministerial role. Economy, health, housing even but I am sure there will be lots of candidates for these roles and we will see what comes of it in the near future.’