3 Aug 2010

Solomon Islands Electoral Commission says rules are clear on vote buying

6:48 am on 3 August 2010

The chair of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission says there are rumours of widespread vote buying ahead of tomorrow's election, which could lead to results being challenged in court.

Commission chairman, Sir Peter Kenilorea, says while he's yet to receive a report of a specific incident, there are rumours of vote buying in many constituencies.

He says the law is very clear on such behaviour, and if people make complaints such incidents could end up in court as an election petition.

"There are rumours of candidates providing fares to go home for voting. Rumours of candidates providing certain material goods, some solar lighting for homes and that sort of thing. Those aspects of I suppose we can call vote buying have been rumoured quite widely."

Sir Peter says vote buying has always been a part of elections in Solomon Islands, but there have not been many successful challenges in court.

The penalty for bribery or undue influence has been increased to more than 600 US dollars or up to six months imprisonment for this election.