Following the resignation of MLAs Emma Edwards (Stanley Constituency) and Bill Luxton (Camp Constituency) nominations have now been confirmed for the forthcoming Falkland Islands double bye-election on the 15th December.
Any hope that the electorate might have had that this bye-election would see a new crop of candidates put their names forward has largely gone unrealized. Only one newcomer, Dr. Barry Elsby, has added his name to the now familiar list.
Barry is a well-known face in the Islands, having been a prominent member of the Islands’ medical team for nearly twenty years. An interest in politics has been evident through his participation in numerous political meetings and forums in the past so his candidacy is not altogether surprising.
His fellow candidates in the Stanley Constituency are John Birmingham - who has served many years on the Legislative Assembly in the past - Norman Clark and Steve Vincent. All three faced-off Mike Summers in the last bye-election in June 2011, which Summers went on to win by a considerable margin. Vincent, then a newcomer, gave a good showing achieving a creditable second place.
More disappointing is the poor showing for the Camp constituency where Ian Hansen, veteran of two previous Councils, is the only person to put his name forward. This means that unless something highly unexpected happens Hansen will succeed Bill Luxton as a third member for the Camp Constituency.
How much the electorate will take an interest in a bye-election so close to Christmas is hard to predict, but given the surplus recently declared by the Falkland Islands Government, there may well be a shift in focus if voters see this as an opportunity to campaign for an easing-up of Government spending controls .
Whatever the turnout will be on the day, and whatever issues will drive the campaigns in the next few weeks, it is likely that most voters in both Constituencies will be hoping that this bye-election will be the last in the current Government.
The current MLAs were voted in November 2009, but since three members have stepped down.
By Janet Robertson – SeAledPR – Stanley