2 Sep 2008

Vanuatu goes to the polls

2:19 pm on 2 September 2008

Turnout appears to be high across Vanuatu, as the country holds its general election.

Polls opened this morning, for around 150-thousand registered voters to elect the country's 52 seat parliament.

MW has been visiting polling stations.

"People started to queue early this morning, with more than 150 people waiting outside one polling station as it opened at 7:30. At the Chiefs Nakamal station, in Port Vila, a queue of 2 hours didn't appear to dampen the enthusiasm of voters. Most say they are excited to vote, because it is the only time in 4 years their voice will be heard. At Pango polling station, in the Efate rural constituency, people are waiting about an hour to vote, but the presiding officer says everything is going smoothly. The police say there's been no major problems, except for a few people complaining their name seems to have been left off the roll. Voting continues until this afternoon, and unofficial results should start to come through late tonight."

Meanwhile hundreds of ni-Vanuatu living in New Caledonia are expected to vote in today's election.

For this year's general elections, a polling station has been organised in Noumea.

Vanuatu's Consul General in Nouméa Raymond Manuake has told local media over 850 people are registered for the poll in which they come within the Port Vila constituency.