Solomons Elections: new lists, new laws, same old habits
Hopes Solomon Islands new voters' list and political party legislation can deliver cleaner elections and a more stable government.
Solomon Islands is getting closer to its national elections planned for late November or early December.
Several new features have been put in place by the Government to try and deliver cleaner elections and a more stable government for the country.
The two major changes come in the form of a biometric voter registration list and a new law designed to strengthen political parties.
But will the changes have the desired effect?
Koroi Hawkins reports:
The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission is hoping that a brand new biometric voter registration list will solve a lot of the old problems of multiple registrations and ballot manipulation come election day. Electoral Officer Philothea Ruaeho says they are working hard to have the new list finalised before the end of the month
PHILOTHEA RUAEHO: We are in the final stage of compiling the list, at the moment we are receiving data from the provinces on the decision made by the revising officers centre and data officers are working on reconciliating all the forms and will do the amendment accordingly and so we are hoping to get the final list by the end of this month, September.
But even with the new lists in place,Transparency Solomon Islands has been working hard to educate voters on ethical voting practices ahead of the elections. Its Executive Officer Daniel Fenua says their is a high chance candidates will find ways manipulate the system.
DANIEL FENUA: The possibility of candidates still engaging in this vote buying is still high. And we found it very hard. This is what we are trying to do at the moment, trying to educate people that vote buying is wrong and you shouldn't accept what is being offered by candidates. This is the time for change and we shouldn't elect corrupt people into parliament.
The other issue for Solomon Islands after the elections is having a stable government. New legislation, the Political Parties Integrity Act, aims to strengthen party politics and the Registrar of the newly formed Political Parties Commission, Calvin Ziru, says leaders have welcomed the opportunity to formally register their parties with it.
CALVIN ZIRU: I think at this point in time there is a lot of excitement on the ground in terms of the political parties. For us it is a very exciting process to see unfold. And our hope is to see political parties progress on from where they are currently to actually forming government and shaping policies for the country.
But Solomon Islands academic and Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii, Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka says the benefits of the new legislation will only be seen in the long term.
TARCISIUS TARA KABUTAULAKA: I think the objective is to develop political parties and in the hope that as political parties develop, you then have a stable government. But in the most immediate term, that is not what it is focused to do or that is not what it is designed to do.
The date for the elections are expected to be announced soon, after which intending candidates have 14 days before nominations close and campaigning begins in earnest.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: