Move to help minority group election hopefuls

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Deputy Montfort Tadier has lodged a proposition which, if approved, would allow non-British nationals to stand for election to the States. Currently, Deputies and Senators must either have British citizenship or dual nationality.

Constables are not subject to these requirements but that could change this week, with Members due to debate proposals which would effectively mean all classes of Member have to meet the same requirements.

Deputy Tadier, who has already lodged an amendment to block the proposed change to the Constables Law, has argued that the Assembly should ‘level up’ rather than put more restrictions on non-British nationals.

In his proposition, he said that two long-term Jersey residents, who did not have British nationality, were interested in standing for election but were prevented from serving as a Deputy or Senator.

He said: ‘We live in a modern, globalised world and, increasingly, in a cosmopolitan and outward-looking Island.

‘We teach our children that merit, ability, hard work and values are more important than what you look like, where you were born and whether you are rich or poor. For me, community is more important than some dated sense of empire.

‘There should be as few barriers as possible to public office. There is already one sufficiently high bar – that of gaining the approval of the electorate. They should be the ones to choose who gets elected, irrespective of nationality.

‘Are we an assembly above the law? Would we, and should we, readily accept such brazen discrimination in any other walk of life?’

The St Brelade Deputy lodged similar proposals last year which were defeated by 31 votes to eight.

In 2014, Polish-born Konrad Kruszynski, who had British nationality, ran for a Senatorial seat. He came second to last in the polls with 2,059 votes.

Meanwhile, the Constables’ Committee has argued that Deputy Tadier’s amendment that would retain the right of non-British citizens to stand for Constable should be rejected.

In his amendment to the Constables Law, Deputy Tadier also called for the requirement that Constables must live in the parish they represent – a barrier which is not applicable to Senators and Deputies – to be lifted. However, he has since accepted that Constables should live in their parish.

The committee said: ‘Until such time as the requirement is removed for the office of Senator and Deputy, it seems appropriate to apply that criteria to the office of Constable, so that all Members are subject to the same requirements.’

The proposition on lifting the citizenship requirements for Deputies and Senators is due to be debated on Tuesday 20 February.

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