30 May 2006

Observers of Solomons poll raise concerns at lack of transparency in leader's vote

7:32 pm on 30 May 2006

The Commonwealth team of election observers, in Solomon Islands for last month's poll, has voiced concerns about the way the Prime Minister is selected.

In a report, the observers say the election was mostly free and fair but have made a number of recommendations such as the need for a fully independent Electoral Commission, clear constituency boundaries and the provision of voter Identification cards.

In the body of the report it was also noted that there's a high level of suspicion and distrust of the process surrounding the election of the prime minister with calls for it to be transparent.

The leader of the Commonwealth group, Sir Arnold Amet, a former chief justice of Papua New Guinea, says the team fielded a number of concerns on this issue.

"I think the people were concerned that the processes of forming of coalitions of different individuals and members of parliament, and parties, often behind closed doors, as is common elsewhere of course, but people were concerned that leaders were being compromised. They were possibly being bribed and influenced by external forces, and plenty of money."