9 Aug 2010

Call for preferential voting to stop electoral violence in Solomons

3:48 pm on 9 August 2010

A watchdog group in Solomon Islands says preferential voting would deter the kind of trouble that has marred the counting process in the Solomon Islands election.

Supporters of losing candidates in several constituencies have taken out their frustrations on supporters of winning candidates, threatening students and staff at a school in Malaita, and damaging and looting shops in Temotu and Central Provinces.

Bob Pollard from Transparency International says such incidents are not unexpected with the first past the post system, and the longer it remains in place the more violence will occur.

"what happens that you have people, different groups, so it's clear who your candidate is, so if your candidate doesn't win, then you know who it is that you might want to turn your aggression on to. Whereas if you have a preferential system then it forces them to be much more co-operative and collegiate in their approach."

Bob Pollard says preferential voting seems to have reduced violence in Papua New Guinea.