3 Aug 2010

Solomon Islands Electoral Commission wants free and fair voting

10:32 am on 3 August 2010

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission is advising people to allow the voting process to proceed freely and fairly, following rumours of widespread vote buying ahead of tomorrow's election.

The chair of the commission Sir Peter Kenilorea says such voter behaviour could lead to election results being challenged in court.

Jo O'Brien reports from Solomon Islands.

"Sir Peter says while he's yet to receive a report of a specific incident, there are rumours of vote buying in many constituencies. He says there's talk of candidates providing people with fares to go home for voting, or with goods such as solar lighting. The commission chairman says the law is very clear on such behaviour, with the penalty for bribery or undue influence increased for this election, to more than 600 US dollars or up to six months imprisonment. Sir Peter says if people make complaints such incidents could end up in court as an election petition, but there have not been many successful legal challenges in the past"