And then there were two…

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Nominations for the Chamber’s lead role closed yesterday evening, with Senator Farnham believing he did not have enough support from Members to challenge for the role.

Incumbent Ian Gorst and Senator-elect John Le Fondré will ask Members to back them in the role for the next four years when the Assembly reconvenes on Monday 4 June.

There had been speculation that newly elected Senator Kristina Moore would challenge for the position after a string of strong results at the polls saw her finish second in the Islandwide vote.

However, she opted against launching a late challenge and will instead throw her support behind Senator Gorst.

And while the Senator-elect admits she started tentative discussions with Members of the new Assembly about running for Chief Minister, she has decided she wants to remain Home Affairs Minister while also taking on the role of Deputy Chief Minister if Senator Gorst is successful.

Senator Farnham said: ‘After having spoken with States Members over the last few days it is clear that the majority of support is lying with Senator Gorst and Senator-elect Le Fondré for the role of Chief Minister. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have decided not to put my name forward.

‘Whilst I am disappointed, I am also realistic in my expectations and now believe that it is in the Assembly’s best interests to have a straight forward contest between the remaining two candidates.

‘I look forward to a robust election process and wish both Senators well with their endeavours for high office.’

The States will vote for the next Chief Minister after each candidate delivers a speech to the Assembly before taking part in a question and answer session with Members.

And Senator-elect Moore believes that while no women are in the running for the top job – Senatorial poll-topper Tracey Vallois having also ruled herself out – women would form a strong part of the Council of Ministers’ team.

She said: ‘It [running for Chief Minister] was something that I had been discussing with a number of people.

‘There was certainly a desire among some to see a woman take the role and a change of direction.

‘However, I have always been a supporter of Ian and we have worked well together over the last term. My conclusion is that the most important thing to focus on is the political direction and what is best for Jersey.

‘I don’t think it is sensible to have two politically aligned candidates contest each other – therefore I’m maintaining my support for Ian and I have signed his nomination paper.’

After Senator Gorst finished sixth in the poll there had been a suggestion that he may step aside from the race to become Chief Minister and instead seek the External Relations post vacated by Sir Philip Bailhache.

Senator-elect Moore said that being near the top of the poll did not automatically mean that she, or Senator-elect Vallois, should necessarily seek the top job.

She said: ‘I think the electorate will understand being a poll-topper, or near the top, doesn’t give you an automatic right.

‘In the circumstances, Ian Gorst polled pretty well and secured strong approval from the people. I do want to play a key part in the Council of Ministers and I see women having a really strong presence in the next Council.’

The former St Peter Deputy added that there was still important work to do within the Home Affairs Department and that she would hope to be appointed Deputy Chief Minister if Senator Gorst was successful in securing a third term as Chief Minister.

‘Home Affairs, I think, would benefit from an element of continuity, given the many changes going on and the importance of public safety in our community.’

Poll-topper Tracey Vallois has already announced her intention to seek the education brief.

Following the election of a Chief Minister on Monday 4 June, the newly appointed post-holder will have just three days to finalise his preferred ministerial team before the States votes to decide who will form the next Council of Ministers.

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