25 Oct 2012

Diplomats called in as observers at last minute for Vanuatu poll

7:41 pm on 25 October 2012

Vanuatu's Electoral Office says an international observer team will visit and monitor selected polling stations during the general election next Tuesday.

This follows recent criticism that the government of Sato Kilman had not requested international observers, nor taken up an offer of monitoring from Transparency International Vanuatu in the interests of ensuring a free and fair election.

The Acting Principal Electoral Officer, Lionel Kaluat, now says the government has decided to allow diplomatic missions based in Vanuatu to visit polling stations in the capital Port Vila, rural Efate, as well as on Tanna and Santo.

Australia, New Zealand, China, the European Union and staff from the US Embassy in Papua New Guinea will be involved in the observer exercise.

Mr Kaluat says internationally-accepted procedures for election observers are to be followed.

He told Radio Vanuatu the move is being undertaken for the purpose of transparency and accountability.