3 Dec 2003

Solomons Electoral Commission outlines need for reform

4:55 pm on 3 December 2003

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission says the country should consider preferential voting in place of the current system of first past the post.

This is one of a number of reforms it would like put in place.

The chief electoral officer, John Babalu, says preferential voting would ensure the successful candidate represents the majority in the electorate.

He says it would be similar to the preferential system that Papua New Guinea is now using.

"We are trying to have a system more related to other countries within the region itself. Also we are looking at having postal voting and absentee voting and all this because currently our law doesn't allow postal and absentee voting."

Mr Babalu says another change the commission would like is that it be given the power to penalise MPs who fail to submit their campaign spending accounts.

After the last election two years ago, less than ten MPs provided the information, which Mr Babalu says means most of the Parliamentarians are there illegally.

But he says there are no penalties available to the commission in the current legislation.