17 Oct 2017

Training underway for 'custodians of democracy'

2:35 pm on 17 October 2017

Electoral officials from around the Pacific have been told they are the custodians of democracy in the region.


Photo: Masterfile

The Commonwealth Secretariat has gathered together officials from 11 member countries in Samoa to look at ways to improve their countries' electoral processes.

The Secretariat's Leulua'iali'i Albert Mariner emphasised the importance of well-trained electoral officials.

He said electoral administrators were on the frontline, similar to rugby referees.

"They are responsible for explaining the rules of the game and encourage wide participation. Unfortunately unlike rugby there's always a chance for both teams to have a draw. In elections there are only winners and losers and the EMBs (Electoral Management Bodies) are always at the forefront of criticisms from the losing party."

Leulua'iali'i Albert Mariner said everyone had a role to play in the promotion of democracy.

Eleven Pacific Island countries are involved in the Apia training sessions this week.