Voters Raise Voices OverLong Distance To Polling Station

ON THURSDAY THE 23rd of March voters from the Vanuatu provinces of MALAMPA, PENAMA, SHEFA and TAFEA took to the polling stations to cast their votes.

On that day a Transparency International Vanuatu Team was traveling around the island of Tanna conducting community awareness’s on the Right To Information Law.

Some of the voters that were spoken to described the distances that they had to walk to vote as “tiring, but it is our duty to elect our leaders.”

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One voter from the Polling Station of Launalang Primary School in North Tanna explained that the long distances was just one little part of the hard work they do every time there is an election, “we wake up early in the morning, around two or three o’clock, and begin our journey to the polling station. We walk for around three to four hours to reach our destination.”

“When both parents come to vote they also have to bring all their children, including the elderly. This means that they have to cook their lunch very early in the morning so that they can eat together under a shade somewhere near the polling station.”

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“After lunch they do not go home yet. They want to hear the Unofficial Results, so they have to wait till the polling station closes its door at around four or five in the evening, and then around six the Unofficial Results will come out. And by the time they get home, which would take again another three hours, it would be around nine or ten o’clock at night.”

Voters who walk long distances claim that they have the capacity and resources to conduct electoral voting processes at their own villages, “we can operate our own polling stations that is nearer to those of us that are living in the remote areas if the authorities approve of it, we have the capacity and the resources,” said a voter from North Tanna.

The elections on Tanna run smoothly with no major disturbances.

Below are a few photos of that day.

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Bigger Numbers To Re-Count

MP GILLION’S SUCCESSFUL re-count of the Efate Rural total valid voter numbers was just the tip of the ice berg because there are bigger numbers to re-count like – the 548 ‘extra’ votes from Efate Rural Constituency, the 168 ‘extra’ votes from Ambae Constituency, plus several more other inconsistencies as reported by Transparency International Vanuatu in the Vanuatu 2016 Electoral Observation Report.

Transparency International Vanuatu had raised this concern on inconsistencies valid voter number to the Electoral Office in February; why has there been no detailed response from the Electoral Commission regarding the inaccuracies on the 2016 Electoral Official Results? TIV send a letter to the Electoral Commission on February the 4th requesting a clarification to the public on why the inconsistencies on the numbers in the Official Results and still there has not been anything done that we are aware of.

BALLOT BOXES

Worryingly, the 2016 Electoral Official Results is not the only one with inconsistencies, but the same can be said for the 2012 Electoral Official Results where TIV identified further inconsistencies.

We cannot just sit back and say that everything is alright because they are not, until we know the reasons why these things are happening then we can begin to say that everything is alright. We know that electoral roll is inaccurate, it is therefore an urgent priority to fix it and the authorities concerned are well aware of this fact.

The public, especially the voters, deserve the right to know of the reasons why there are inconsistencies, it is therefore important to set up a process in place that will provide the right information to the public when responsibility demands it.

Fighting corruption at all levels in society is the purpose of Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV); it is the reason why TIV exists in Vanuatu. And though TIV has cut down on the number of citizens it employs due to funding constraints it does not stop us from reporting on where, why, or what we believe is important to report on. For this reason, there are several concerns, and activities, that we have noted and we look forward to detail them further soon.

To view the 2016 Electoral Observation Report  CLICK HERE.

 

 

Parliament Meets To Elect New Government

AFTER A RATHER LONG period of political uncertainties the parliament of Vanuatu will finally elect a new government today.

Port Vila this morning experienced a string of traffic jams up to the Parliament compound. Dozens of people looked on from outside the parliament as the new elected representatives walked in this morning.

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Elected representatives ready to enter the Parliament chamber.

Inside the parliament media personals are busy sorting out broadcasts transmissions to inform the people of Vanuatu by radio, television, and by live-streaming through the parliament website.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE-STREAM.

Security is also tight. Dozens of security officers are lined up outside the parliament gates while others roam around the parliament compound.

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Former MP Maxime Carlot (right) and new MP Albert William (left) of the GJP Party.

Over the last couple of days the will for stability has been a driving force behind many conversations within the political arena, and the hope for stability continues to remain on  every citizens minds. Evidently, by the end of the today Vanuatu will already have a new government in place.

By 10:30am the swearing in of all the Members of Parliament had finished. MP Joe Natuman (who is the Senior Member) was then chosen to act as the Speaker of Parliament for the election of the new Speaker of Parliament who will then proceed with the election of the Prime Minister.

At midday MP for Malekula Esmon Saimon was elected as the new Speaker of Parliament for Vanuatu.

He led with 33 votes while the other nominated MP for the position of the Speaker, Christopher Emelee, took 19 votes.

Next was the election of the First Deputy Speaker that went unopposed, it shows that the Unity Front for Change Bloc currently holds the majority in Parliament. MP for Santo Mr. Edwin Amblus, who is a former Magistrate, is now the new First Speaker of Parliament.

The election for the Second Deputy Speaker also went unopposed, the nomination was made by MP Jotham Napat and seconded by MP Edwim Amblus. The position of the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament goes to MP Havo Moli from Malo/Aore Constituency.

The Third Deputy Speaker is MP Alickson Vira from Ambae, and the Fourth Deputy Speaker is Marcelino Barthelemy from Malekula.

MP for Pentecost Charlot Salwai was nominated for the position of the Prime Minister unopposed.

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE-STREAM.

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Acting Clerk of Parliament summons the new elected representatives in the Chamber.

Brief Observation Of The Snap Election

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU published this morning a brief observation report on the Vanuatu 2016 Snap Election.

WHAT IS INSIDE THE REPORT?

There are four parts in this brief observation report:

  1. Allegations of corruption.
  2. Comparison of Candidate numbers by Provinces.
  3. Discrepancies in valid voter numbers.
  4. Recommendations.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE REPORT.

 

 

Official Result: Representatives Of The 11th Legislature

THE LONG WAIT IS FINALLY OVER. The Electoral Commission announced the names of the new Members of Parliament this morning via Radio Vanuatu.

Reportedly, the official results were scheduled to be aired at 10 o’clock, however unexplained delays rescheduled the timing to 11 o’clock.

Among the list of successful candidates are 35 newcomers and 17 former Members of Parliament.

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Below are the names of the representatives of the 11th Legislature;

Torres Constituency (1 Seat)

  1. Christopher Emilee (Vanuatu National Development Party)

Banks Constituency (1 seat)

  1. Jack Wona (Vanuatu National Development Party)

Santo Constituency (7 Seats)

  1. Hosea Nevu (Iauko Group)
  2. Alfred Maoh (GJP)
  3. Marko Mahe (Reunification of Movement for Change – RMC)
  4. Samson Samsen (Vanuatu President Party)
  5. Gaeton Pikioune (Nagriamel)
  6. Edwin Amblus (FMB)
  7. Ronald Warsal (VP)

Luganville (2 Seats)

  1. Matai Seremaiah (IND)
  2. Marc Ati (Iauko Group)

 Malo Constiuency (1 Seats)

  1. Havo Moli (Nagriamel)

Malekula Constituency (7 Seats)

  1. Santo Kilman (PPP)
  2. Esmon Saemon (VP)
  3. Marcelino Barthelemy (RMC)
  4. Don Ken (PSP)
  5. Jerome Ludvune (UMP)
  6. John Sala (GJP)
  7. Gracia Chadrack (IND)

Ambrym Constituency (2 Seats)

  1. Bruno Leignkone (NUP)
  2. Albert William (GJP)

Paama Constituency (1 Seat)

  1.  Fred William Tasso (GJP)

Pentecost Constituency (4 Seats)

  1. Sailas Bule (NUP)
  2. Charlot Salwai (RMC)
  3. Francois Chani (NUP)
  4. Ham Lini (NUP)

Ambae Constituency (3 Seats)

  1. Jacob Mata (Nagriamel)
  2. Jay Ngwele (Iauko Group)
  3. Alickson Vira (Natatok)

Maewo Constituency (1 Seats)

  1. Ian Wilson (IND)

Epi Constituency (2 Seats)

  1. Isaac Daniel (IND)
  2. Seoule Simon (UMP)

Tongoa Constituency (1 Seat)

  1. Kalo Pakoa Songi (Iauko Group)

Shepherds Outer Islands Constituency (1 Seat)

  1. Toara Daniel (Green Confederation)

Efate Constituency (4 Seats)

  1. Norris Kalmet Jack (UMP)
  2. Joshua Kalsakau (VLP)
  3. Jerry Kanas (IND)
  4. Nato Tawia (MPP) 

Port Vila Constituency (6 seats)

  1. Kenneth Natapei (VP)
  2. Ismael Kalsakau (UMP)
  3. Ralph Reganvanu (GJP)
  4. Jean Pierre Nirua (IND)
  5. Kalo Seule (Green Confederation)
  6. Ephraim Kalsakau (IND)

Tanna Constituency (7 Seats)

  1. Joe Natuman (VP)
  2. Jotham Napat (Leaders Party)
  3. Bob Loughman (VP)
  4. Tom Nauam (IND)
  5. Nakou Natuman (UMP)
  6. Johnny Koanopu (VP)
  7. Andrew Napuat (GJP)

Tafea Outer Islands (1 seat)

  1. Tomker Naling (UMP)

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Parliamentary Party Compositions;

  1. Independents – 8 Members.
  2. Union of Moderate Party (UMP) – 6 Members.
  3. Vanua’aku Party (VP) – 6 Members.
  4. Graon & Jastis Pati (GJP) – 6 Members.
  5. National United Party (NUP) – 4 Members.
  6. Iauko Group – 4 Members.
  7. Reunification of Movement for Change (RMC) – 3 Members.
  8. Green Confederation – 2 Members.
  9. Nagrimel – 3 Members.
  10. Vanuatu National Development Party (VNDP) – 2 Members.
  11. Leaders Party – 1 Member.
  12. Natatok Party – 1 Member.
  13. Vanuatu Presidential Party (VPP) – 1 Member.
  14. Peoples Service Party – 1 Member.
  15. FMB – 1 Member.
  16. Vanuatu Labour Party (VLP) – 1 Member.
  17. Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) – 1 Member.
  18. Melanesian Progressive Party (MPP) – 1 Member.

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL OFFICIAL RESULT REPORT.

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Click here fore more graphic reading on infogram.com.

WATCH: Victory Dance for newly elected MP for Port Vila Mr. Jean Pierre Nirua.

A Look At Some Post-Election Changes

THE DEMAND FOR CHANGE has always been on the voters list, and just by looking at the unofficial results from the snap election major changes have already happened for party compositions with some parties losing numbers while others gain more. The assurance of changes by the successful candidates have yet to be seen, but the atmosphere seems to have changed and the political spectrum for the next four years will be an interesting one to monitor.

The Snap Election of 22 January 2016 was expected to be a showdown between the political power-houses in Vanuatu while general light expectations was felt for the independent candidates. However, the independent candidates proved this conception wrong and were warmly embraced by the voters for their caliber and vision.

The major hurdles of the previous year had pushed for more emphasis on integrity and corruption as a political platform, with this same sentiment voters at large rallied for changes within the system.

From an observation point of view, voter participation looks to have improved. However, without an accurate electoral roll it would be unwise to claim that there has been a factual increase, thereby denying us the prompt opportunity to declare that a change has occurred. A calculative change at present is found in the numerical difference when the number of winning voters of 2012 is compared with the number of winning voters (unofficial counts) of 2016.

Unofficial results show that voters that have successfully elected representatives for the new legislature has increased by 4,305 voters, thus totaling 47,609 voters.

Coincidentally, it may be evident that the decrease in the number of candidates that contested the Snap Election may be the cause of this slight increase in the number of winning votes. Candidate numbers decreased by 24 percent from the 345 candidates that contested the 2012 General Election.

Thoughts provided by random individuals say that change is finally here, however to think that way may still be premature because the successful candidates have yet to fulfil their parliamentary obligations with impact. Most of the Members of Parliament have three roles to perform while in office; that of a parliamentarian, constituency representative, and party member.

The leading candidates from the snap election, especially the newcomers, are expected to be a thriving force. The experience, the wealth of knowledge, and the passion that will enter the 11th legislature looks fruitful.

Over the last couple of years a lot of opinion has been raised regarding candidate criteria, specifically on individual academic qualifications and personal achievements. Clearly, according to unofficial results, it looks like the voters have become more practical in expressing their leadership choices.

According to unofficial results, the 11th legislature of parliament will include at least three lawyers, a medical doctor, a trade unionist, Masters and Degree certificate holders, former senior public servants, businessmen, and including very vibrant community leaders.

The people of Vanuatu deserve good and honest development, this was the message that was delivered by candidates during their campaigns when they preached for change. Anti-corruption was a particular prime topic for several of the campaign teams. Will they fulfill their campaign assurances? Only time will tell. But whatever happens we must continue to fight the good fight, and we must continue to provide the necessary support for our Members of Parliament.

This few post-election changes happened because the voters said so, and more is yet to come in the next four years. And if things do not turn out the way you expected you always have that right to demand from your elected representative a valid explanation.

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: transparency@vanuatu.com.vu

 

 

 

 

Questionable Acts

Is it corruption when a political camp feeds the whole community? Or when bags of second hand clothing are delivered to communities by a contesting candidate?

Reports of questionable acts by several candidates who contested this snap election surfaced from around the islands of Vanuatu. Several incidents of questionable acts informed to Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) by citizenry observers identify as bribery, gift giving, and treating. All of this acts are labeled as corruption under the Representation of the Peoples Act.

In one particular report a candidate was said to be distributing copper roofing’s to households during the night, and in another report a shipment of bags of rice, cartons of canned fish and bales of sugar were delivered to the supporters of a candidate on one island.

Furthermore, information received from an advocator against corruption claim that an amount of around VT300, 000 was allegedly given to a provincial councilor by a former member of parliament.

Also reported was that some political supports were going around to pay voting cards at the price of VT3, 000 to VT4, 000.

On 19 January, which was the last the day for the campaigns, information received by Transparency International Vanuatu claimed that a candidate was planning to host a ‘Pablik kakae’ as part of their campaign rally. A public feasting would of course fall well under the offence of Treating.

Treating happens when political parties and candidates provide foods and drinks to people who come and listen to their campaign. It means paying for a voter’s kava or food for the purpose of influencing the voter to vote in ones favor, this is an offence under the Representation of the People’s Act.

Also received was an allegation that a certain candidate had given VT10, 000 to pay food at a children’s party. Furthermore, reports surfaced alleging that a candidate had bought cattle and materials to give to a group.

Moreover, a candidate reportedly used a donor-funded project that cost over four million vatu as propaganda for his campaign while a school was closed, and was promised only to reopen, if a certain candidate was voted by the students’ parents.

The last two weeks of election campaigning has so far raised a lot of questionable acts to ponder on,  however in most areas contacted the perspective was different with one observer stating that “this area is clean,” meaning activities like bribery, treating and exedra have not been heard of since the start of the election campaigning period on 5 January.

The allegations of corruption contained in this story have been provided by ordinary citizens from around Vanuatu who are tired of corruption. They have been advised to properly record these corrupt activities and to report them to the appropriate authority to investigate.

Transparency International Vanuatu is available to assist any corruption complaints from members of the public specifically during this election period. 


 

Other related stories:

  1. Transparency Vanuatu raises election bribery concerns – Radio New Zealand.
  2. Election bribery report a concern to Vanuatu NGO – Radio New Zealand.
  3. Transparency International Vanuatu says election was not clean in some outer islands. – ABC.