7 Jan 2016

183 candidates eligible for Vanuatu snap election

10:29 am on 7 January 2016

In Vanuatu after a delay of two days, 183 candidates have been declared eligible to take part in the country's snap general election on the 22nd of January.

Polling in Vanuatu elections.

Polling in Vanuatu elections. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

A number of political parties had already launched their campaigns to start pending the declaration from the Electoral Office of the names of the eligible candidates, which were read out towards midnight last night.

The Electoral Chairman Killian Taleo says a total of 264 candidates had been screened for outstanding debts and the number was reduced to 183.

Our correspondent says those candidates still intending to contest have 72 hours during which to settle their outstanding debts to qualify to contest.

He says rumours that some of the 14 jailed former MPs had also submitted their names to contest had led to the Chairman of the Electoral Commission warning that any such act would be deemed a contempt of court.

Meanwhile, according to the Daily Post Newspaper, the National United Party has 10 candidates, Vanuaaku Pati 13, Union of Moderate Parties 9, Prime Minister Sato Kilman's People's Progressive Party 5, Ground and Justice Party 7 and 41 independent candidates.