12 Jul 2004

Electoral conference ends in Vanuatu

9:33 am on 12 July 2004

Today is the final day of a 3 day conference examining electoral systems in the Pacific.

Academics and practitioners specialising in Pacific electoral institutions have been discussing recent electoral reforms in Papua New Guinea and Fiji, the matai system in Samoa, the monarchist model in Tonga and proposals for federal government in Solomon Islands.

One of the organisers, Doctor Johnathon Fraenkel of the University of the South Pacific, says the conference, which is being held in Vanuatu, is extremely timely.

"there's been alot of proposals for electoral reform on the agenda in countries like Fiji, Papua New Guinea, talk about this also in the Solomon Islands. It's become a growing concern but unfortunately that growing concern hasn't been underpinned by a very deep understanding of the possible repurcussions of electoral institutions where the potential is for those institutions to work more effectively with local political culture or where they may actually provide problems."