3 Mar 2008

Observers call for changes in the Marshall Islands election process

8:16 pm on 3 March 2008

A Pacific Islands Forum team which observed the Marshall Islands elections late last year, has made 16 recommendations aimed at overcoming what it says were shortcomings in the poll.

There were a series of logistical problems, including polling stations opening hours late, poor security surrounding the postal vote and lengthy delays in the counting process.

Shennia Spillane, a legal adviser at the Forum, and a member of the observer team, says establishing an independent electoral agency is the most vital step that needs to be taken.

"Making sure that you have got an electoral administration that is really able to be, and able to be seen by the people of the Marshalls, to be independent from Government, which the current legislative arrangements don't allow, and then making sure that it is given the resources and the training and the ability to actually do its job the best way it possibly can."