12 Jan 2016

Challenge filed against Vanuatu Electoral Commission

8:27 am on 12 January 2016

A budding candidate in the Vanuatu election, Willie Toama, has filed an urgent constitutional challenge against the Electoral Commission.

Ballot box in a Vanuatu election.

Ballot box in a Vanuatu election. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Mr Toama who is Charge d'Affaires at Vanuatu's embassy in China has not been declared as eligible to contest the Tanna constituency.

Mr Toama's lawyer Less Napuati says Mr Toama had been removed from the electoral list and the Commission had a statutory duty to inform him they had done so.

"In this case my client was overseas in China. His name was removed without being consulted so we are filing that constitutional application that his constitutional right to vote as well as to stand up for election has been violated."

Mr Napuati says the Electoral Office has confirmed to him it has a system in place which automatically removes a voter from the list if he fails to vote.

Mr Toama planned to stand under the banner of a new political party, the Moderate Alliance.

He is among 264 applicants who submitted an application to contest the snap election later this month.

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