Guernsey

European court deems Sark reform plan 'invalid'

Sark
Image caption Sark is run by Chief Pleas - made up of 28 Conseillers, a president and the seigneur, a hereditary title

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has deemed invalid an application by a campaign group calling for electoral reform on the island of Sark.

The Sark First group approached the court in July seeking "a more proportional system of representation" on the island.

But the ECHR said the application was "unanimously declared as inadmissible".

Sark First said it was in "no way disheartened".

Sark First was set up in October 2014 with the aim of replacing the current structure with an alternative electoral system.

'Ill-founded'

Sark is run by Chief Pleas - made up of 28 Conseillers, a president and the seigneur, a hereditary title.

The group said it aimed to put "an end to the divisions that are tearing the island apart".

But, the ECHR said the group's concern relating to fairness of the electoral system was "manifestly ill-founded".

It also said in relation to the group's complaint that the electoral system "discriminates against those holding minority viewpoints", that the group had "not provided any precise definition of what constitutes a minority viewpoint" and it was "similarly manifestly ill-founded".

The ECHR added that in Sark there were no formal political parties, and with an electorate of just under 500, designing a "proportional system would prove difficult".

Despite the rejections, Sark First said: "Sark is still not working and we will not rest until the introduction of a system of real democratic change that allows for the true representation of all residents."

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