28 Mar 2006

Solomon Islands chief electoral officer calls for free campaigning

8:57 am on 28 March 2006

There are no laws in Solomon Islands to cover a situation in Makira province where communities are threatening to fine candidates in the general elections if they don't show up to a public forum.

The provincial police commander has warned the three western communities that the behaviour amounts to intimidation and they should take down any notices that demand the presence of the candidates.

The notices said if they didn't turn up to a forum at the end of this week, they would be fined hundreds of dollars.

The chief electoral officer, Musu Kevu, says this is a first for the country and there are no rules to prevent this occurring.

"In fact, we don't have any legislation to cover issues like this. But, I don't think it's right for people to impose fines on candidates. I think its beyond what we should be doing here in terms of candidates going out to campaign. They should be allowed to do their campaigns and nobody should be intimidating."

Mr Kevu is appealing to the communities to allow free campaigning.