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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 21:40 GMT
Last election under feudal system
Sark is moving in line with European human rights laws
More than 140 islanders have cast their votes in the last ever election in Sark held under the centuries-old feudal system of government.

A new constitution is expected to be drawn up and a fully-elected government in place by the end of next year.

At present, owners of the island's 40 tenements (divisions of land) have an automatic seat in government.

Islanders are choosing 12 people's deputies, who are elected every three years, from 13 candidates.

The change to a fully-elected government follows a legal challenge by businessmen Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who live on the neighbouring island of Brecqhou.

They say the feudal system does not square with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Barclay brothers
The Barclays live on the neighbouring island of Brecqhou.

The island tried to come up with a compromise, but failed.

Sark's Seneschal Reg Guille, who chairs the Chief Pleas, the island's governing body, said: "We have now been told by the Department for Constitutional Affairs and their legal advisors that they don't think the system we have chosen was human rights compliant.

"We have a different view on that, but we are going to have to make further changes to our constitution."

The role of Seigneur, who acts on behalf of the Queen, will end when a full elected government starts.

The Seigneur has been the island's leader for the last 400 years and is still entitled to pocket a tax on property sales, the so-called Trezieme.

The polling booths were open until 2000 GMT in the library at the Old Island Hall on Wednesday.

The candidates are: Paul Armorgie, Dave Cocksedge, Peter Cole, Richard Dewe, Trish Graham, Adrian Guille, Geoff Gurden, Janet Guy, Tony Le Lievre, Dave Melling, Helen Plummer, Paul Williams and Sandra Williams.

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