19 Jan 2016

Vanuatu Electoral Commission denies youth missing out

9:56 pm on 19 January 2016

Vanuatu's Electoral Commission has hit out at claims that high numbers of young people won't be able to vote in the snap election this Friday.

Polling in Vanuatu elections.

Polling in Vanuatu's 2012 elections Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The president of Vanuatu Youth Against Corruption, Priscilla Meto, told our correspondent more than 70 percent of people who turned 18 after the last election in 2012 will be unable to vote on Friday.

She says more than 3,000 young people haven't been able to enrol and will have to wait until 2020 to be heard.

But the chairman of the electoral commission, John Killion Taleo, says that is totally wrong and the electoral roll was up to date in June 2015.

"It's totally wrong because the role that we managed to get through for this snap election is the role that was already established in June-July 2015. So people cannot complain about that, we have already established everything ready for this snap election."

Mr Taleo says it's only those who turned 18 since July 2015 who are unable to vote as there was no time to enrol them ahead of the snap election.

Meanwhile, the Prinicipal Administration Officer of the Vanuatu National Youth Council, Joe Kala, says it's crucial that those who can vote, do so.

"For them to feel that they are part of this country, to be able to have a say in who gets to Parliament. I think it's crucial that we take this proactive role to try and get more young people to register or to try and go to the polls on Friday."

Joe Kala says there are barriers for young people to enrol, but he says there have been opportunities over the past three years to do so.