The constitution of the Falkland Islands requires that a general election be held every four years to choose the eleven members of the Islands’ Legislative Assembly or lower house of government. The next General Election is due to be held on November 7th this year. Once elected, members will choose three of their number to become members of the Executive Council, which is the upper house of the Falkland Islands. While the Executive Council is presided over by a Governor appointed by the British Government and includes a small number of other members such as the Attorney General of the Falkland Islands, the three elected members of the Executive Council drawn from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly are the only members to have voting rights. Out of a resident population estimated at 2,931 on the occasion of the last census in April of 2012, there are nearly 2,000 people eligible to vote by reason of their being over the age of 18 and possessing the necessary status.
There are two constituencies: Stanley the Islands’ only town, which elects five members of the Legislative Council or MLAs, and the Camp, the Falkland Islands term for anywhere outside of Stanley, which with roughly one fifth of the total eligible voters, elects three MLAs, who need not be resident in “Camp” and with their town colleagues will be expected to represent the interests of the Islands as a whole and not merely their constituents.
There are no political parties and nothing to bar members of one Assembly standing for re-election. In the forthcoming elections, seven of the previous eight MLAs are standing again. They will expect to be judged by the electorate on the basis of their previous performance, while, with the exception of one former MLA, who was not a member of the last Assembly, the other eight fresh and inexperienced candidates hope to be able to convince the electorate that they possess the necessary qualities to make a better job of running the country than their more seasoned competitors.