A Commonwealth Observer Group is currently in Honiara ahead next week’s National General Election in the Solomon Islands.
Over the past few days the Group has been meeting with key stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organisations, women’s groups and youth representatives as well as the Election Commission. Addressing the press in Honiara yesterday, the Chair of the Group, Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, said,
“The Group received a briefing from the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) on the various aspects of the new Electoral Act 2018 under which this election will be conducted. We are pleased to note that some of the recommendations submitted by previous Commonwealth Observer Groups were accepted and implemented as part of the country’s electoral reforms.”
More than 350,000 citizens are registered to vote in the election on 3rd April. They will be casting their votes in more than 1,000 polling stations spread across the islands that make up the Pacific nation. On Monday, the Chair will deploy teams to several provinces to observe final preparations for the elections, polling day and the results tabulation.
This is an important election for the country, as it is the first since the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) concluded in 2017. The Mission, led by Australia and comprising all members of the Pacific Islands Forum, had been working with the Solomon Islands Government to lay the foundations for long term stability since 2003.
Concluding his statement, Mr Livtuvanu said,
“This election is critical for sustaining the peace dividend the people of Solomon Islands have worked hard to secure. We commend the role that the Pacific Forum region played through RAMSI in supporting the country’s efforts to pursue its peace and development objectives. We urge all the candidates and voters to participate peacefully in the country’s election and be assured of the Commonwealth’s commitment to strengthening your national democratic processes and institutions.”
The Commonwealth Observer Group is composed of:
Hon Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, Chairperson – Former Prime Minister of Vanuatu
Ms Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls - Board Chair, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and Co-Chair, Board of Directors, Global Fund for Women (Fiji)
Mr Pesi Fonua – Editor and Publisher, Maitangi Tonga Online (Tonga)
Mr Hendrick Gappy – Former Chairman, Seychelles Electoral Commission (Seychelles)
Ms Kimberly Gilbert – Board Member for Training and Development of the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (Trinidad and Tobago)
Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan – Former Chairperson, IEBC Kenya
Ms Beverly Joeman – Vice Chair, Sabah, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), (Malaysia)
Mr Reuben Kaiulo - Former Election Commissioner (Papua New Guinea)
Dr Rajen Prasad – Former Member of Parliament and former Commonwealth Envoy to Lesotho (New Zealand)
Senator Lisa Singh – Senator for Tasmania (Australia)
Mr Wilson Toa – CEO, Transparency International (Vanuatu)