Commonwealth Observer Group

Commonwealth observer group commends Solomon Islands election

In a preliminary statement released over the weekend, its chairperson, former Vanuatu prime minister Sato Kilman, says the group acknowledged the efforts of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission to conduct the election under the country's new Electoral Act which was brought in just the year before.

Mr Kilman said his group observed some positive aspects of the process and also identified areas that could be improved to enhance the country's democratic process.

Observers note ‘vote-buying’ reports

In its interim report presented on Monday, the group calls on authorities to take note of such incidents which have created an uneven playing field for candidates contesting the elections.

The COG says this should be addressed before the next election.

COG Chair Sir Anand Satyanand highlighted their concern on a number of alleged vote buying reports, which included the use of state resources and provincial and district development funds.

“These funds were alleged to have been used to buy voters’ support or for projects to induce voters,” said Sir Anand.

Gamato welcomes observer report

Gamato said he welcomed the comments by the COG Chair, Sir Anand Sayatnand, which highlighted some of the negative and positive aspects of the election this year.

He also said they agreed to a review of the 2017 election once it is completed to better improve for the next.

The COG’s interim report highlighted their disappointment after a recommendation for an improved electoral roll after the 2012 National Election was not implemented.

EC needs urgent review after elections

Chair of the COG, Sir Anand Satyanand, said a key issue and challenge which they noted was the significant number of eligible voters whose names were not on the electoral roll.

“The Group was very disappointed to reports that highlighted the need to address the issue, have yet to be implemented,” he said.

He added that it is critical that adequate expertise and funding required by the PNGEC for creating a credible roll should be provided in a timely manner before the next election.

​Voters urged to participate

The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group in Papua New Guinea, Sir Anand Satyanand, said this while wishing the people of Papua New Guinea well at the start of two weeks of polling, which opened in some areas on 24 June.  

Sir Anand commended the efforts of all involved in preparing the elections and noted the considerable logistical challenges and the resources required to stage the national election. 

Government fails to implement Observer Group's recommendations

And one of the recommendations made was in regards to the boundaries.

However, Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group Sir Anand Satyanand said unlike other countries in the Commonwealth, PNG has a system where the Parliament makes the decision and not the Boundaries Commission.

“A number of recommendations are still pending which the Government and the Boundaries Commission yet to undertake.

“Unlike other countries where the Boundaries Commission makes the decision, in PNG it is different.

“It is the Parliament that makes the decision,” he said.

Sir Mekere calls for EAC reinstatement

In a statement, Sir Mekere said the reinstatement of the inactive body will be a step towards a fully transparent National Elections this year.

“I urge the Chief Electoral Commissioner to activate the EAC and have regular meetings with it in the critical period leading up to the election. I am sure they can also help him to discharge his duties independently and effectively.”

The EAC is provided for under Section 69 of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government elections of the Constitution