LegCo elections seek to fill four vacancies

CANDIDATES: From left, Nigel Malpass, Tony Wild, Peter Hill, Linda Bowers-Kasch, Geoff Corkish, Michael Coleman and Juan Turner. PHOTO: John Maddrell JM130515 (11).

CANDIDATES: From left, Nigel Malpass, Tony Wild, Peter Hill, Linda Bowers-Kasch, Geoff Corkish, Michael Coleman and Juan Turner. PHOTO: John Maddrell JM130515 (11).

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A SPECIAL sitting of the House of Keys will vote today to fill the four vacancies in the Legislative Council.

It is by no means certain that all four seats will be filled at the first ballot.

But Chief Minister Allan Bell has already indicated the LegCo elections could spark a cabinet reshuffle and he is reviewing the membership of all government departments including ministers.

The seven candidates who have been nominated for the vacant seats in the upper house were each invited to the Barool suite in the government offices to give a thee-minute presentation to Tynwald members outlining their reasons for standing, giving a broad overview of policies and answering any questions.

Nominees include two MLCs who are seeking re-election – Juan Turner (nominated by Education Minister and Peel MHK Tim Crookall) and Tony Wild (nominated by Douglas North MHK John Houghton).

Douglas West MHK Geoff Corkish has been nominated by Juan Watterson, the Home Affairs Minister and an MHK for Rushen.

The other nominees are Linda Bowers-Kasch, nominated by Liberal Vannin leader Peter Karran MHK (Onchan); Michael Coleman, nominated by Infrastructure Minister and Manx Labour Party MHK for Douglas South David Cretney; former police officer Peter Hill, nominated by Mr Karran and Nigel Malpass, nominated by Chief Minister Allan Bell (Ramsey).

Mrs Bowers-Kasch stood unsuccessfully for Liberal Vannin in Ramsey in the 2011 general election. Mr Hill was the party’s candidate in Douglas North. Nigel Malpass is the chairman of Ramsey Commissioners.

He stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for Liberal Vannin in 2006. Mr Coleman stood unsuccessfully for the Manx Labour Party in Douglas North in 2006.

Island shipping consultant Mr Malpass hit the headlines in 2010 when he was named in a New York Times article about an Iranian shipping line accused of circumventing US sanctions.

Captain Malpass, of Clifton Drive, Ramsey, was appointed director of a number of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines-owned companies incorporated in the Isle of Man. Irisl, blacklisted by the US in 2008, has repeatedly denied improperly aiding Iran’s military and nuclear programs. And the Manx government insisted there had been no breach of current sanctions. Mr Malpass, too, strenuously denied the allegations.

Mr Bell told the Examiner that the the companies involved had never been involved in sanctions busting and the story had been more about political considerations in the US. He said Mr Malpass had served three terms as chairman of Ramsey Town Commissioners and after three years had ‘so much more to offer’ than a return to the local authority backbench. ‘We need people with a good understanding of the economy,’ he said.

Candidates have to secure 13 votes to be elected. A series of ballots can be held until all vacancies have been filled. MHKs can nominate from the floor after the first ballot. If all vacancies are not filled at the end of the sitting, the Speaker can call for fresh nominations.

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