TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU (TIV) will be observing next week’s by-election as Election Observers, this was confirmed and approved by the Principal Electoral Officer Mr. Charles Vatu. TIV will be providing independent observations during Election Day, and will provide an independent election report on the outcomes of the election.

TIV will be sending out a team of 18 Election Observers (who are mostly locally trained youth volunteers) to observe in the Port Vila polling stations, their objectives will be to report to the Electoral Office any gross abuses of election processes as prescribed by the Representation of the People’s Act [CAP 146].

Moreover, the Election Observers will report to the citizens of Port Vila, and Vanuatu, on the overall freedom and fairness of the election. It is also to encourage better and more transparent and to show citizens that they can contribute to the integrity of electoral processes.

With regards to the observations in the Port Vila 2014 by-election, there were no major problems in terms of preparation and distribution of electoral materials, which was an improvement since 2012. All the polling stations had enough materials and personnel; but a number of issues occurred in several polling stations which meant that the police had to assist to escort those who fouled the process out of the polling station to be questioned at the police station.

2012 Election Observers analysing the gathered information.

2012 Election Observers analyzing the gathered information.

Polling went well throughout Election Day. Even though there were more than a hundred voters to cast their vote in one particular polling station, it did not delay polling into late in the evening, another improvement since 2012, because of the use of 4 booths per station from 2 booths in 2012.

Several of the issues that occurred in the 2014 by-election included;

  • People wanting to vote for family members (no proxy).
  • Found out they are using of other person’s card (after being returned by politicians).
  • No names on the electoral roll.
  • Underage registered voter (below registration age of 18 years).
  • Using another person’s card.
  • Political observer escorted out of polling station – no proper pass.
  • Spelling errors on cards and electoral roll so voters couldn’t cast their vote/confused polling officers.
  • Advertising party or candidates on t/shirts at polling stations that forced the presiding officer to remove the shirt, in one occasion and on another occasion another presiding officer from a different polling station allowed the shirt as it was for last election, in 2012.
  • The majority of registered voters did not participate in the Port Vila by- election turnout.

While election observation is part of Transparency International’s mandate, TIV has acquired experience in observing electoral processes since its creation. TIV has observed several elections and made regular propositions.

In 2002, TIV was part of the official Observation Group and observed the national elections, they proceeded to make important recommendations for the improvement of the overall process. Again in the 2012 General Election, TIV’s observation team undertook this role, but could only cover Port Vila and Efate Constituencies with trained observers due to funding constraints.

Reports from these activities are available upon request. Call us: 25715, or email: transparency@vanuatu.com.vu

Picture Source: http://fijione.tv/pacific-news

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