The Falkland Islands elected Legislative Assembly was dissolved on Thursday by Governor Nigel Haywood in advance of the General Election scheduled to be held on November 7.
Under the terms of the Falklands’ constitution eight Assembly members are elected every four years (five for the capital Stanley and three for Camp). The Legislative Assembly is chaired by a Speaker and includes two ex officio members: the Chief Executive and the Financial Secretary. The Speaker is a non elected position chosen from the community by Assembly Members.
The Legislative Assembly is empowered to pass legislation for the peace, order and good governance of the Falklands, subject to the approval of HM the Queen through the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Legislative Assembly meetings are held in public usually bi-monthly.
At this stage, there is no longer a Legislative Assembly and the former Members’ status reverts to “ordinary persons”, although this is subject to a number of statutory exceptions.
In the event of an emergency the Governor can recall the dissolved Assembly, and Membership of the Falklands’ Executive Council does not automatically end on dissolution.
A Member of the former Legislative Assembly usually remains a member of Executive Council until the new Legislative Assembly first meets.
Individuals requiring nomination papers can obtain them from the office of the Returning Officer at the Secretariat on any weekday from Thursday September 26 until Thursday October 17 between 8.15am and 11.45am; and 1.15pm and 4.15pm.
The last day for completed nomination papers to be delivered to the Returning Officer, Keith Padget, is Thursday October 17, 2013.
Elected Members have a substantial measure of responsibility for the conduct of affairs concerning the Falkland Islands, although the Governor retains responsibility for foreign affairs and defense. The Governor nevertheless consults regularly with Members on these issues
No political parties are represented on the Falklands’ Assembly since all members are elected as independents. Thus there is no formal opposition and each member takes responsibility for a particular portfolio and works closely with the relevant departments but does not have the role of a minister.
Instead questions of policy are considered by the Executive Council, Exco.
Each year the elected members of the Legislative Assembly elect three of their peers to the policy making body of government: Executive Council, which is chaired by the Governor.
Only the three elected members of the Legislative Assembly are able to vote on the Exco. Exco normally meets monthly and is responsible for the formulation of strategy and policy and for the high level management decisions.