14 Mar 2016

Nauru opposition calls for early election observers

9:31 am on 14 March 2016

Two former Nauru presidents have appealed to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Pacific Islands Forum to begin early monitoring of the island's elections.

Marcus Stephen and Sprent Dabwido have written to the two organisations on behalf of the opposition.

They say they fear the government is abusing its office for the deliberate manipulation of the election, which is expected to be held in the middle of the year.

In letters to the two organisations, assistance was sought in addressing what was called 'the breakdown of democracy, good governance, freedom of speech, rule of law and separation of powers.'

The government has invited both organisations to act as observers.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

But the letters ask that observers be sent to Nauru in advance of the poll.

They claim the government has introduced barriers for potential candidates which would unfairly alter the outcome.

In February, the government, which dominates parliament having suspended most of the opposition, ruled that public servants wanting to stand had to resign three months before the poll.

The government also hiked candidacy fees 20-fold and increased charges for voters wanting to move electorates.

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