3 Nov 2010

Vanuatu seeks input to accommodate customs in electoral law

2:34 pm on 3 November 2010

The Vanuatu government has called on members of parliament and political parties to come up with ideas on how to integrate customary rules in the country's electoral laws.

The call has come from the prime minister, Edward Natapei, and his minister of internal affairs, Moana Carcasses Calosil.

Both say the constitution's preamble stipulates that the constitution is based on traditional, custom and cultural values but the election laws deny that.

Our correspondent says if a candidate makes a traditional gesture to the chiefs and his people, it can be regarded as bribery and a breach of election laws.

But he says it is a custom for a person from other islands and villages to perform a ceremony before entering the traditional house of the chiefs.

After the 2008 election, members of parliament lost their seats because of bribery, which led to costly by-elections.