Remote island off France steps closer to democracy
The tiny island of Sark, which lies between England and France, has moved another step close to full democracy.
LONDON, April 10, 2008 - The tiny island of Sark, which lies between England and France, has moved another step close to full democracy after planned constitutional reforms received royal assent.
The Ministry of Justice in London confirmed that royal assent had been
granted Wednesday to reform laws which have already been approved by Sark's
parliament, the chief pleas.
That body -- which dates back to the 16th century and consists of 40
unelected local landholders plus 12 elected deputies -- is set to be
overhauled in favour of a 28-member, democratically elected chamber.
Elections are due to be held in the island, 20 miles (32 kilometres) off
the coast of France, by December.
The changes were triggered when, in 2006, residents of the British crown
dependency voted in favour of a fully elected government.
In addition, the island, which has a population of just 600 and has banned
cars, has signed the European Convention on Human Rights, which affirms the
need for "an effective political democracy".