22 Jan 2019

Solomons election date to be released early next month

9:59 pm on 22 January 2019

The date for the Solomon Islands election will be announced next month.

Chief Electoral Officer Mose Saitala

Chief Electoral Officer Mose Saitala Photo: Supplied

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission says the official proclamation will be made by the Governor General early in February.

More than 359,000 people have been registered to vote this year.

The chief electoral officer Mose Saitala said this was an increase of over 72,000 from the last election in 2014.

Mr Saitala said his staff are now working on allocating voters to about 1400 polling stations across 50 constituencies.

"And we hope to complete that process by the end of this week and from there we will conduct the training for the returning officers and the election managers by Monday next week, to complete it by the end of the week.

"And it will follow very closely with the proclamation of the [date for the] National General Election by the Governor General in the very first week of February."

Mose Saitala said the Governor General's proclamation will also open candidate nominations and mark the start of the official campaign period.

The Electoral Commission is also warning intending election candidates against electioneering outside the official campaign period.

According to Mr Saitala, that period will begin once the Governor General proclaims the date for the election and will end 24 hours before polls open.

He said the proclamation would most likely be made in the first week of Februar - this would also open nominations for election candidates.

But Mr Saitala told RNZ Pacific, his office was already receiving complaints of illegal campaign activity.

"It might need to be investigated once nominations are open and candidates file their candidacy for to contest the elections," he said.

A lot of that is really coming now in terms of accounts of what has happened in specific areas and what intending candidates are actually doing. But we can't do anything about it until they are actually candidates."

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