17 Jun 2002

Election observers make 64 recommendations in Vanuatu

7:05 pm on 17 June 2002

The Election Observers Group which monitored voting during May's poll in Vanuatu has called for a comprehensive review of the electoral system before the next vote scheduled for 2006.

The EOG was an initiative of Transparency International and the Vanuatu Electoral Commission, set up after concerns of electoral fraud and bribery.

It has now released a report making 64 recommendations for action by the Government.

It says there should be a full review of the Representation of the People's Act to ensure that habitual criminals, those with significant debts and those convicted of electoral fraud cannot stand in an election.

The EOG suggests that to reduce fraud a prospective voter, when registering, have two witnesses of high standing certifying his or her identity.

It says in a rewrite of electoral laws close attention should be paid to the issue of bribery as it relates to custom.

And the EOG says Parliament and political parties should consider ways of encouraging and supporting women to stand for election and to participate in Vanuatu's political life.

The Electoral Commissioner Sethy Regenvanu says the report will lead to a review and improvement in the management of elections and polling procedures.

The Prime Minister Edward Natapei says his Government will give the report serious consideration.