3 Aug 2010

Last minute preparations underway for Solomon Islands elections

10:31 am on 3 August 2010

Last minute preparations for the Solomon Islands general election are continuing ahead of tomorrow's vote.

The Electoral Commission is calling on all registered voters in the country to exercise their democratic right to freely, fairly and safely cast their votes.

Jo O'Brien reports from the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara.

"More than 60 international election observers have been pouring into Honiara, and are being dispatched to the country's far flung islands, to monitor the vote along with almost 400 local observers. The logistical challenge in running an election across a country with limited transport and communication systems, has been highlighted by the breakdown of a ship, due to have sent election materials to the Outer Malaita constituency. The Electoral Commission is trying to see if air transport can be arranged as an alternative. Election posters are visible on the streets in the capital, and on the eve of the election more performances are being held in markets to educate people on the voting process and voting behaviour."

Meanwhile, New Zealand's High Commissioner to Solomon Islands says travel advice has not been upgraded for the election period.

Mark Ramsden says New Zealand's travel advisory for Solomon Islands has been updated to note the election date, but the advice remains the same.

What that advice says is that the security situation is currently stable in Honiara but that visitors to Honiara should obviously exercise a degree of personal security awareness, avoid demonstrations and large gatherings in case things do get out of hand.

New Zealand's High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Mark Ramsden.