The campaigning period for the Green Party of England and Wales internal elections is now upon us. The campaign period will be running throughout July, with the vote being conducted between the 25th of July, and the 25th of August. So that the results may be announced at the Green Party's Autumn Conference in Birmingham on the 2nd of September.
With the announcement that Natalie Bennett is not seeking reelection, there has already been a lot of discussion about the Leadership side of the election, but these are not the only roles up for grabs.
These Executive posts will be elected for a two year term: Leader or Co-leaders, Deputy Leader(s), Chair of the Green Party Executive, Campaigns Co-ordinator, Elections Co-ordinator, External Communications Co-ordinator, Management Co-ordinator, International Co-ordinator, and Trade Union Liaison Officer. There will also be two roles up for a one year term; Finance Co-ordinator and Internal Communications Co-ordinator.
Alongside the already high-profile Jonathan Bartley and Caroline Lucas job-share candidacy, other Leadership candidates are formed of a series of former Green Candidates in the 2015 General Election. The much more interesting race, will be that for Deputy Leader, usually the Green Party has two deputy leaders, however, if a job-share candidacy, i.e. Bartley/Lucas, wins the Leadership election, then there can only be one Deputy Leader. There is a much more interesting set of candidates too; both of the current Deputy Leaders, Amelia Womack, and Shahrar Ali, are standing, joining them are, the Party's Energy Spokesperson - Cllr Andrew Cooper, East Midlands lead candidate Kat Boettge, and a couple of other former parliamentary candidates.
I've been giving quite a bit of thought of who I want to take the Green Party forward from the impressive work that Natalie Bennett has done, from us getting the largest vote share percentage in the party's history in 2015, to the Green membership surge, I would argue that Natalie has been our most successful Leader to date.
Leader: I'm going to be slightly controversial here, and advocate for Re-Open Nominations (RON). I feel that none of the candidates really connect with the membership of the party. Caroline Lucas is the only instantly recognisable name, but she's standing as part of a jobshare, and is still our only MP, in my opinion, I think she should focus on that, and keep to her 2012 commitment of allowing new talent to grow in the party.
Deputy Leader: For me I without a shadow of a doubt support our current Deputies continuing. I want them both to be able to continue their amazing and inspirational work as Deputy Leaders. Since being elected as a Deputy Leader of the party two years ago, Shahrar has made impressive work across the party. I've had the pleasure of being able to work with him as a Party Spokesperson. He has been extremely supportive to members, and is a really motivational speaker. To paraphrase from one of his own speeches; Shahrar Ali is a real green deal! For Amelia, I've struggled where to start! She is absolutely impressive in her work these past 2 years. From her commitment and drive in the Sennedd elections, boosting the Welsh Green Party vote, to really supporting and engaging with core groups of our members such as the Young Greens, and LGBTIQ Greens. Amelia is an amazing force for good in our party, and I hope she can continue. I am saddened at the possibility we will lose one or both of them, because of the Job Share Leader candidacy. Shahrar and Amelia have engaged with the members better than any of the Leadership candidates, so I'm actually now wishing they'd have stood together for the Leader position.