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Chief Minister allowed to fire but not hire

Chief Minister allowed to fire but not hire

Friday 16 May 2014

Chief Minister allowed to fire but not hire

Friday 16 May 2014

After narrowly agreeing to give the Chief Minister a range of new powers, Jersey politicians have baulked at actually delivering them.

Following a complex and often fractious debate, the Island's top politician, Senator Ian Gorst will now for the first time be able to fire poor performing ministers.

His team on the Council of Ministers will in future also be bound by 'collective responsibility', which means they will have to toe the party line, and support the Council's policies, even if they personally disagree. States Members agreed to that fundamental change to the Island's political system, which some say opens the door to party politics, by 25 votes to 17. A number of Ministers disagreed with this policy change, including the Environment Minister Deputy Rob Duhamel, who the Chief Minister tried to remove from his Council earlier this year. 

Holding a team together will be made even harder after politicians decided not to allow the Chief Minister to decide who he wanted to work with. Instead, by the narrowest of margins at 23 votes to 21, they decided to maintain the current system where the Chief Minister proposes who he wants as a Minister, but other States Members can decide to replace any of them with alternative candidates.

That means the Chief Minister will still have to propose his list of preferred Ministers, and then persuade his colleagues to accept them; in previous administrations the States have typically included at least one Minister who is known to differ from from the Chief Minister's views.

After three days of debate, States members will now take a break from discussing these changes until next Tuesday, when they return to give them the final seal of approval - it is still possible that changes will be made at that point, once States Members have reflected on what's so far been decided.

If not, the new system will be in place for the next Chief Minister, after the elections in October. 

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