NOW THAT WE have 52 members of Parliament being elected as per the un-official result, voters are now expecting their candidates or political party to adhere to their campaign messages and promises.
Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) went around and spoke to several voters about what they expect from their elected candidates. A male youth, aged 23, told TIV that he was happy with his vote in the snap election because he chose a right person. A person who is qualified and believes will voice his concerns in the parliament.
“I voted for a Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) candidate who was among the leading candidates in the snap election. I just want to remind my candidate that when you are in the parliament please do not forget the people who voted for you,” the youth said.
The 23 year old also explained that “when you are there in parliament, please do continue to come down to the community sometimes and visit us, see our needs and support us in developing our community.”
“I want you to treat us all like we expect you to,” the youth said.
Another female youth of 28 years old, who also voted for a Graon mo Jastis Pati candidate said she is looking up to her candidate in the next four years time.
“Our livelihood this next four years depends on the decisions that you will make,” she said.
“I believe people with high qualifications will make a change in the next four years. Therefore I just want to congratulate and encourage that the good works be continued to promote accountability in leadership” she explained.
This female youth continued to say that “since your (GJP) policies are about Lands and Justice we ask you to consider the impacts any land regulations may have on custom land owner lands before passing bills in the parliament. Also justice must always prevail like what we have seen in 2015 where 14 members of parliament were jailed for bribery. People were satisfied to see that justice was served, and that should be maintained.”
TIV also met a 70 year old male from the Island of Ambae who voted proxy in his home Island.He said his candidate contested under the Nagriamel Party.
When TIV asked him if he was satisfied with his proxy vote he responded with a big smile on his face, “Yes I am happy because when the unofficial results were released, my candidate was one of the names who won.”
He continued to say that “it is important for our candidate to think about people at the grassroots level. Pay regular visits to us in the community and help us with our needs to develop our communities in the Island. Also, if you happen to secure a portfolio in the government, always remember the people. Do notbe like the past MPs who never came to our home Island to visit us but would only visit during election campaign periods.”
In addition, a mother of two kids living at Freswota Four area told TIV that MP salaries and employee’s salaries must both be reconsidered.
“Cut down MPs salaries, increase MP allocation, increase minimum wages for employees both private and government and help provide more job opportunities,” she said.
The mother also suggested that all government households should be repaired and rented out to generate more government revenue.
Also, “since my candidate is a lawyer belonging to the Union of Moderate Party (UMP), he should make a law that will require MPs who want to join another party must formally resign. And then they must apply to join another party,” she added.
Moreover, TIV also spoke to two Ifira boatmen aged 34 and 23. They were proud to have casted their votes for a Labor Party candidate who is among the leading candidates in the unofficial results.
“We are very happy with our votes. And now that he will be securing a seat in the parliament we just ask him to work on his policies and that they are fulfilled” they said.“And He must not neglect the grass root level people, this is very important,” one of them pointed out.
Furthermore, a Vanua’Ku Party (VP) voter, who is a 60 years old elderly man, told TIV that he wants his candidate to concentrate on developing communities and not fill up supporter’s pockets.
“The candidate that I voted for in Vila won his seat and he belongs to Vanua’Ku Party. My message to him is clear: do not give or accept any form of bribery; concentrate on developing community services, do not fill supporters’ pockets improve urban health services in Vila so that Vila Central Hospital can concentrate on dealing with referred or serious cases only; and last but not the least VP must have a youth wing so that transitional planning can be encouraged. It will help ease the handover of power from the old politicians to the young leaders,” the 60 year old voter said.
With regards to the role of an MP, the Vanuatu Parliament website explains it clearly. According to the site most MP’s are viewed as “having three roles that of a parliamentarian, constituency representative, and party member.”
If you are interested to know more about the role of Members of Parliament please visit the Transparency International Vanuatu office or call us at 25715. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WATCH: Voters share their opinions from the island of Santo.