19 Jan 2015

Vanuatu to cut frivolous election petitions

3:05 pm on 19 January 2015

The Vanuatu government says it will introduce legislation to reduce the number of what it deems to be superficial election disputes.

The Internal Affairs Minister Charlot Salwai has proposed key amendments to the the People's Representations Act that would increase petition fees from the current 200 US dollars to almost 10-thousand US dollars.

The government says the new policy attempts to set limits so the courts strictly deal with serious election issues instead of frivolous cases with little chance of succeeding.

According to the government, funds from the fees could be held in a trust account for when costs are awarded by the courts in petition outcomes.

Also proposed is a new timeframe for courts to hear petitions, set at no more than six months after the date of the lodging of petitions with the Supreme Court.

Some recent petitions have taken two years to reach final determination.

Stacks of voting cards for Vanuatu's 2012 elections

Stacks of voting cards for Vanuatu's 2012 elections Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades