2020 Falkland Islands electoral system referendum

A referendum on reforming the electoral system is scheduled to be held in the Falkland Islands around August 2020, after being postponed from its initial date of 26 March 2020 following the Coronavirus pandemic.[1][2] Voters will be asked if they want to replace the two existing electoral constituencies (Camp and Stanley) with a single constituency for the whole of the Islands.

Falkland Islands electoral system referendum
LocationFalkland Islands

BackgroundEdit

Under section 27 of the Falkland Islands Constitution, any change to the constituencies on the islands must be supported in a referendum by at least two-thirds of those who are registered as electors in each constituency.[3]

Elections in the Falkland Islands are held every four years to elect eight members to the Legislative Assembly using multiple non-transferable vote. The Camp constituency is currently heavily over-represented in the Legislative Assembly, electing three of the eight seats (38% of the total) with the remaining five seats being elected from the Stanley constituency (62.5%). However, according to the 2016 census, 87% of the islands' population live in Stanley, compared to 13% in Camp.[4]

It is the third time in 18 years that the Falkland Islanders will have been asked to vote on creating a single constituency for the whole of the Islands. The first referendum was held on 22 November 2001, to coincide with that year's general election, and asked "Do you agree that there should be a single constituency for the Falkland Islands, with a new voting system for proportional representation?". This was rejected by 56.65% to 43.35% overall and there were majorities against in both constituencies, with the 'No' vote in Camp being over 70%.[5]

Another referendum was held ten years later on 3 November 2011, but this time only asked voters if they wanted a single constituency and did not include provisions for changing the voting system. The question was again rejected, this time by 58.78% to 41.22% overall. A narrow majority of voters in Stanley (50.2% to 49.8%) voted in favour but over 80% in Camp voted against.[6]

In August 2018 the Falkland Islands Government announced that another referendum on creating a single constituency would be held on 7 November 2019.[7] However on 24 July 2019 the Executive Council of the Falkland Islands agreed that polling day should be moved to 26 March 2020.[1] The original date was chosen to allow sufficient preparation time for the referendum and also (in the event the referendum question is approved) have enough time to make appropriate amendments to the Electoral Ordinance and Constitution before the next election, expected to take place in November 2021.[7]

Referendum questionEdit

The proposed question to appear on ballot papers for the referendum was set out at a meeting of the Executive Council on 26 June 2019 under Standing Order 23(2) and published on 8 July 2019.[8] Eight variations of the referendum question were proposed at the meeting, with the following being approved:[9]

Should there be two constituencies, Stanley and Camp, or should there be one constituency for the whole of the Falkland Islands?

with the responses to the question to be (to be marked with a single (X)):

There should be one constituency. I support the Single Constituency Bill
There should continue to be two constituencies. I do not support the Single Constituency Bill

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Falklands' referendums on single constituency will he held Thursday 26 March 2020". MercoPress. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  2. ^ Falklands moves to next COVID-19 response; March 26 referendum postponed for six months
  3. ^ "The Falkland Islands Constitution Order 2008" (PDF). gov.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  4. ^ "2016 census report" (PDF). falklandstimeline.
  5. ^ J. Brock (24 August 2001). "Falklands Voters Polled on Single Constituency". The Falklands News Network. Retrieved 2011-06-26.
  6. ^ "Falkland Islands voters overwhelmingly reject single constituency proposal". MercoPress. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Falklands: Referendum on Single Constituency on Thursday 7 November 2019". MercoPress. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Falklands' single constituency referendum questions". MercoPress. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Referendum on Single Constituency". fig.gov.fk. Executive Council of the Falkland Islands. Retrieved 13 July 2019.