The final report of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Solomon Islands Nation General Election 2019 has been presented to the government, electoral commission and other stakeholders.
Chairman of the Group and former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, met with the Chair of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) and the Chief Electoral Officer to introduce the report and discuss some of the key recommendations.
SIEC Chair Patteson Oti commended the Group’s report on the general election of 3 April 2019:
“The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has benefitted immensely from Commonwealth observer reports from previous elections. The SIEC has extensively used the observations and recommendations in those reports in forming its policy position on certain aspects of the country’s election process.”
The report acknowledges government actions to address previous recommendations, noting that:
“The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission’s role to strengthen the administration of the election under the new Electoral Act 2018 is to be commended. The role played by SEIC officials, Election Managers, Returning and Presiding Officers in the management of election day and the count activities represents significant progress and indicates a commitment to strengthening the country’s democratic practices”.
However, the report also highlights a number of areas where electoral processes could be further improved. Recommendations include the introduction of continuous voter registration, the expansion of provision for pre-polling, and suggestions for how voting and counting procedures could be enhanced. The Group also called for political parties and other relevant institutions to increase the political representation of women, which remains low.
The Group, composed of ten observers, was in the country between 27 March and 8 April. Teams were deployed to six provinces and Honiara City to observe the vote on election day. It was the fifth consecutive election in the Solomon Islands that the Commonwealth has observed.