29 Nov 2006

Options for changes to voting in Vanuatu to be considered

8:28 pm on 29 November 2006

There are proposals to change the way people can vote in Vanuatu over concerns that some may have been voting in other constituencies as well as their own.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is putting forward two possible options to be considered.

The first is to allow those from other provinces, who live in Port Vila or Luganville, to be permitted to vote in the urban constituencies.

Len Garae at the Daily Post newspaper says the other option is for a reduction in the number of seats in the urban constituencies because many people reside in rural areas but work and vote in the city.

He says the proposal for change came because there were allegations that some candidates were busing in voters to their constituencies to increase their chances of winning a seat.

"As a result of that, the government has decided that enough is enough, they're going to apply the law and the law says that voters have to vote where they reside or where they live, and not where they work, for example. Because, most of them work in Port Vila or Luganville - they come into work in town and then they go back at the end of the day into the rural areas where their homes are."

Len Garae says the proposals are expected to go to the next session of parliament when it convenes next March or April.