Corrupt Elections in the Solomons

The following information was posted to Facebook by Transparency International PNG on 21st May 2019.

2019 NATIONAL GENERAL ELECTION – THE WORST AND MOST CORRUPT EVER RUN IN SOLOMON ISLANDS SINCE INDEPENDENCE.

Loss of control

“The number of election petitions raised against the 27 winning candidates confirms that Chief Electoral Officer, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) lost control of the 2019 National General Election”, says Transparency Solomon Islands. Transparency Solomon Islands commends candidates that did not subject their voters to undue influences, and Constituencies where contesting candidates conducted themselves according to the Laws of Solomon Islands.

Failed legislation

“It is the most corruptly run election where there is no oversight both from the Chief Electoral Officer and Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC)” TSI further adds. The newly amended and passed electoral act did not avert any of the problems voters experienced in past elections but exacerbated these. The consequences of removing the serial numbers from ballot papers was never properly considered. The solution was staring them in the face [i.e. changing the electoral system]. Both SIEC and the Chief Electoral Officer decided to go against the wishes of the people.

“The fact that SIEC and the Electoral Office did not carry out any Civic Awareness initiatives left people being advised by all and sundry on the importance of National General Election” says TSI. The Electoral Office has very capable public officials that can carry out this awareness programme, but they are poorly resourced, and one wonders what the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle Solomon Island Project is for.

Need for review

With awareness, voters and communities could have been better prepared for the Election Campaign Tsunami that hit them. It is time for the Electoral Office and the Electoral Commission review what transpired in this election, bring in new amendments and make provision for addressing the corrupt act of Election Officials appointed to run the election. It is also time to provide a reports mechanism for the voters to report electoral official for corrupt conduct and charge them with criminal offense. TSI calls on the Speaker Patteson Oti to convene a meeting of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and call for a full report of the 2019 NGE.

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