President of Tynwald, Steve Rodan OBE, has announced his decision to retire in July.
Mr Rodan will stand down on July 19, the eve of the July sitting of Tynwald, when the first item of business will be for members to vote to elect his successor.
In retiring, Mr Rodan brings to a close a political career which began in Scotland in the 1970s when, as a member of the Scottish Liberal Party, he stood as the parliamentary candidate for Moray and Nairn in 1979 and culminated in more than 30 years of continuous elected public office on the Isle of Man. His parliamentary career began with his election to the House of Keys in 1995, representing the constituency of Garff from 1995 to 2016, and later serving as Speaker of the House of Keys from 2006 to 2016. On July 19 2016, he was elected President of Tynwald for a five-year term.
Mr Rodan said: ‘I have formally advised my Tynwald colleagues that I wish to retire as a Member of Tynwald in July and that it is not my intention to seek election for a further five-year term as President of Tynwald. Letting colleagues have confirmation of my intentions will enable time and thought to be given to the election of my successor. To have served as President of Tynwald these last five years has been an immense privilege, and such a decision has not been taken lightly. The opportunity afforded by Tynwald for public service to the Isle of Man has been a hugely enjoyable experience for me all of these past 26 years, and in latterly carrying out the duty of President there could be no greater an honour. I am grateful for both the political friendship and exemplary support of parliamentary staff given over the years.’
The President of Tynwald is the presiding officer of both Tynwald and the Legislative Council, they are elected by and from amongst the members of Tynwald, usually at the last sitting before a General Election.
The President interprets the rules and conventions of Tynwald Court and the Legislative Council. Many of these rules are described in Standing Orders, the President’s interpretation of which is final. The President is assisted in this task by the Clerk of Tynwald and the Clerk of the Legislative Council. The President also has a casting vote in the event of a tie on a division. If there is a tied vote in the Council when sitting in Tynwald Court, the President exercises the casting vote to make the Council decision agree with that of the Keys
Runners and Riders
With Mr Rodan announcing his retirement, the race to be his successor will begin. So far only Speaker Juan Watterson has publicly said he wants the job. Back in September he said: ’I am aware that Steve Rodan is probably not looking to do another term as President. The normal path would be that the Speaker would take on the role, because there would be no one else with any presiding officer experience to do the job. I think you do need an experienced presiding officer in that role [President of Tynwald] because that is the glue that holds the machine together. We’ve been very lucky here to have Steve Rodan for five years, who had 10 years as Speaker before that and has been very good in terms of teaching me some of the ways and means of this office.’
However while he has publicly touted for the job, there are others believed to be up for taking on the role, whether they choose to contest an election on the floor of Tynwald is another matter.