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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An Independent by any other name

Forward Wales' rather independent Assembly Member, John Marek, continues to get up the nose of his Labour opponents with his admittedly eccentric approach to the Assembly electoral system.

In today's Western Mail, his Labour opponent, Lesley Griffiths, accused the Assembly's Deputy Presiding Officer of deceiving his constituents by posing in a photograph as a party leader while standing for election as an Independent.

As the paper explains, Mr. Marek appeared as the leader of Forward Wales in a picture with other party leaders aimed at encouraging voter registration. Yet in May's election he will be seeking to retain his Wrexham seat as an Independent.

Naturally, Ms. Griffiths is outraged:

"John Marek is trying to take the people of Wrexham for a ride. Now we have photographic proof. I am furious he thinks he can get away with such a blatant attempt to hide his true colours.

"Voters expect and deserve honesty when they go to the polls on May 3. I know what I stand for. I am the Labour candidate in Wrexham, standing for tough measures against anti-social behaviour, investment in health and better local jobs.

"I call upon the Electoral Commission to clamp down on this cavalier approach to democracy that threatens to make a mockery of our electoral system in Wales."

Bizarre as John Marek's decision is, I do not think that the Labour Party, who has consistently tried to gerrymander the electoral system for their own advantage, can claim the moral high ground in this argument.
I couldn't agree more - if they were really bothered about abuse, they wouldn't insist on using AMS.
If we were not stuck with the top-up list voting system, this nonsense would not be happening.

It is to be hoped that parliament will resist Labour's imposition of a party list system for elections to the reformed upper chamber at Westminster.

- Frank Little
This "top-up list voting system" seems to me to offer one of the best ways to the gravy train for out of luck politicians who know how to work the system. Disgraceful ... tut, tut, and more tuts.
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