[Updated with video] This morning [Aug.9] the One Bermuda Alliance [OBA] announced that their Leadership Election will be held on September 10th, with the candidates expected to be announced on September 1st.
The election will be held at the Fairmont Southampton, and in addition to Leader, the evening will also see the Deputy Leader, Party Chairman and Deputy Party Chairman elected.
OBA Chairman Michael Fahy makes the announcement:
OBA Interim leader John Barritt plans to step down to make way for the new leader, and while the formal candidate announcements will not be until next month, two of the OBA Senators are considered likely candidates.
Former Bermuda Democratic Alliance [BDA] leader Craig Cannonier and former United Bermuda Party [UBP] leader Michael Dunkley are considered by many to be the front runners, and speculation also exists that Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards may be contemplating a run for leadership.
With both front runners currently serving in the Senate and not elected to Parliament, a victory at the leadership conference by either of them would mean that Mr. Barritt could end up keeping his pledge made in May, and stepping down from his seat in the House of Assembly that he has held since 1993.
Whoever replaces Mr Barritt – should he step down – will likely win any bye-election held in constituency #12. In the 2007 election, Mr Barritt won his Devonshire South Central seat in a landslide, getting 85% of the vote [723 to 122] against the PLP’s Linda Merritt.
If the two Senators do not run and the new OBA Leader is to be selected from the present elected representatives, the selection will be between: Shawn Crockwell, Dr. Grant Gibbons, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Donte Hunt, Louise Jackson, Trevor Moniz, Mark Pettingill, Bob Richards and Cole Simons.
Anyone who is a registered member of the OBA [minimum cost $5] and a registered voter can vote in the leadership election. The OBA Constitution says, “Members shall be able to vote at OBA elections pursuant to rules proscribed by the EC or delegated committee from time to time and shall receive other benefits as decided by the EC from time to time. Only members who are registered on the Parliamentary Register can participate in elections for OBA Leader and Deputy Leader.”
Candidates for Leader and Deputy Leader must submit the supporting signatures of at least two MPs and/or Senators and 15 members of the OBA. Signatories must be on the electoral role. Leader or Deputy Leader contenders may only put their name forward for one position, not both.
Update 10:40am: The statement from OBA Chairman Michael Fahy is below:
In keeping with the commitment the party made when it formed last May, I have asked you here to announce that the day for the party’s leadership election is Saturday, September 10th.
Not only will the party elect a Party Leader and Deputy Leader at this election meeting, but also a new Party Executive, including Party Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
The event will be held at the Southampton Princess Hotel, starting at 7.30 p.m.
Before addressing some of the rules governing the election I want to take this opportunity to reiterate some of our basic approaches as a political party because they have direct application on how we will conduct this election.
The party organized itself to include Bermudians from all walks of life who want to see change in the way politics is conducted.
We operate as a broad church – open to all who wish to join and abide by our principles and who are prepared to put Bermuda first.
We are committed to enhancing our democracy by making our system of government more inclusive, more transparent and more collaborative for the public and parliamentarians.
Finally, our aim is to draw from the widest possible membership to broaden participation and commitment to public service and to putting Bermuda first.
In keeping with these approaches, this will be the first-ever open election for a party leader. I say that in the sense that anyone can participate as long as they are a signed up member of the party and on the Parliamentary Register.
In the interest of expanding participation, people can join the party on the night of the conference.
Now, to contend, the people wanting to become Leader and Deputy Leader must submit the supporting signatures of at least two MPs and/or Senators and 15 members of the OBA. Signatories must be on the electoral role.
Leader or Deputy Leader contenders may only put their name forward for one position, not both.
They are permitted to run as a combined ticket and say so during their speeches and, if agreed in advance, when gathering signatures.
At the conference, the speeches for Leader and Deputy Leader shall be no more than 12 minutes.
The winning candidates must get at least 50% of the popular vote. There will be rounds of votes until that threshold is achieved. The candidate with the lowest number of votes in any given round is eliminated from the next round.
In terms of getting involved in the election, we will have nomination forms on our website, along with party membership forms.
To keep the public informed, we will announce the candidates on September 1st.
The leadership election will bring an end to our four-month interim period where we focused on laying the foundations of the party constitutionally, administratively, policy development and membership; along with our work in Parliament.
We look forward to Bermudians from all walks of life joining with us to elect new leadership and bring change to Bermuda.