Summers wins Falklands MLA seat: favours strong response to Argentina and north-south links
Former member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, Mike Summers has been voted back into the government by a substantial margin. Voting took place in Stanley on Thursday in a by-election, which saw 51% of the electorate going to the polls.
Mike Summers, who served 13 years as Councillor until 2009, gained 259 of the 676 unspoilt votes cast, which is more than 38.3%.
The former councillor heard the news late on Thursday night as he was arriving by ferry onto the Isle of Wight for the NatWest Island Games as head of the Falklands’ delegation.
“I’m delighted and pleased to be back in government of the Islands”. Regarding his clear lead over the other candidates he said that he suspects the voting reflected the electorate’s concerns over the current situation with Argentina and felt that this may have been “a vote for common sense and experience”. He added that “I can bring some experience to add to the team’s work in countering Argentine claims”
Summers was unable to confirm whether he would be taking on the Agriculture portfolio which had been held by Glenn Ross, the man he replaced on the assembly, saying only that he would need to talk to colleagues upon his return to the Islands.
In his electoral manifesto Summers said that the Argentine Government “is as aggressive as it has been for many years; we risk losing ground in both political and economic spheres, and there is a need to respond strongly and confidently to their outdated political concepts and downright lies”.
As well as maintaining support in (UK) Parliament, “we need to talk directly to EU institutions, other European countries and key states, to put our case firmly and strongly”.
The MLA-elect said he has long advocated a strong North-South commercial air-link, free of Argentine interference. Similarly “economic and social development will be strongly assisted by a continuance of a commercial containerised shipping service” and “it is time to be talking to the public about the realistic options available to us in these areas, and gaining their support for what will be very substantial risk investments”.
The split saw the majority of votes being shared between the top two candidates. The results were: Mike Summers, 259; Steve Vincent, 177; Norman Clark, 96; John Birmingham, 87 and Ian Hansen, 49. There were also eight spoilt votes.
Although disappointed that he was not elected, businessman Steve Vincent said that he was encouraged by the support he was given and confirmed that he will be standing again at the General Election in 2013. He described Summers as a “very good statesman”.
Asked if she was surprised by the result MLA Emma Edwards said: “Yes and no, Mike has a lot of loyal supporters in Stanley. I would like to have seen fresh blood though, simply because it is always good to get new people to experience what council is like”.
Former Assembly Member Andrea Clausen said the result was totally what she expected from the word on the street: “Mike has always excelled in international affairs and that is what he based his manifesto on”.