Campaign interference claims dog Nauru election
Best known as the home of one of Australia's off shore detention centres, Nauru's election campaign has been dogged rumours of interference.
About eight thousand Nauruans will cast their votes on Saturday in the general election.
Best known as the home of one of Australia's off shore detention centres for asylum seekers, Nauru's election campaign has been dogged rumours of interference.
Ben Robinson-Drawbridge has more.
Such pro-government advertisements have been playing for weeks on local television and radio stations according to opposition candidates in Nauru, who claim the same stations have refused to run advertising for the opposition.
The Government says Nauru media doesn't run political advertising for either side, labelling the accusation laughable.
But the government doesn't deny that the opposition was prevented from holding a political rally or that their election brochures can't criticise the regime.
The opposition Member of Parliament, Matthew Batsiua, says a new law banning political hatred is stifling his campaign.
Now that's a mine field because any sort of campaigning that criticises government policy could be construed as generating political hatred, so it's been a struggle, hasn't been fair, but we're not deterred. We've lost a lot of our good standing and reputation because of our Government's crackdown on the rights of people. I think there is a growing feeling that there is a need to change.
Matthew Batsiua was one of five opposition MPs suspended from the previous parliament for two years by the government, giving it free rein in the 19 seat house.
The former president, Sprent Dabwido, was briefly imprisoned for protesting his suspension.
Mr Dabwido says a loose alliance of 15 to 20 opposition candidates are campaigning across Nauru's eight multi-member constituencies.
We all have the same vision we have all the same plans we share information we all have the same goal of removing this government and in my own constituency we're running as a party of three.
The first-time candidate and former Deputy Clerk of parliament, Gabrissa Hartman, says she's running as an independent, even though her platform is similar to the opposition.
Since 1968, we've only had two women in parliament. To me there's a big imbalance in terms of women's representation in Parliament. If I could make a difference getting there I would certainly push to get the number of women into parliament increased.
A team of election observers on Nauru from the Pacific Forum were too busy to be interviewed by deadline.
They're working alongside another team from the Commonwealth.
The Nauru Electoral Commission's Judy Birkenhead says votes at the 12 polling stations will be cast using a preferential technique known as the Dowdall Borda system.
What this means is that every preference on every ballot paper is given a value and all of those values are added up so every preference for every candidate is counted. So it is quite a complex system but it does suit Nauru who has a small population. And it gives it a level of representation that might not otherwise get in first past the post or other systems.
Judy Birkenhead says voters are enrolled automatically and failure to cast a ballot carries a twenty dollar fine.
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