1 Oct 2007

Nauru election monitors call for changes

7:03 pm on 1 October 2007

There has been a call for improvements to be made to the electoral process in Nauru in the wake of last August's elections.

A team of monitors from the Pacific Islands Forum has issued a report saying, overall, the poll was credible but some real concerns were raised by voters.

Don Wiseman has more.

"In the poll on August 25th the adminstration of Ludwig Scotty won a resounding victory but there has been criticism the Government influenced this result by the way it distributed what are called grass roots funds. This money, provided by Taiwan, can be distributed within the community at the discretion of the MPs, but several losing candidates have called the process bribery. The observers say the Electoral Act should be changed to clearly define bribery, while allowing for the traditional practice of providing food and gifts. They want more transparency over campaign funds and expenditure, more voter education and greater support for women to enter the political process. Around ten percent of voters chose to transfer out of their home districts and this distorted the election result. The monitors say the criteria for the transfer process needs to be tightened and politicians should not be involved. Presently they have the final say whether or not a voter can transfer."