29 Oct 2019

Vanuatu's election date confirmed

4:17 pm on 29 October 2019

Vanuatu will go to the polls on 19 March next year.

Ballot box in a Vanuatu election.

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

Electoral Commission chair Martin Tete said the date for next year's election had been confirmed.

Candidate applications will open in January for a 22-day period.

The final day for the current Parliament, which was elected in January 2016, will be 22 January.

Meanwhile, a petition is scheduled to be presented to Vanuatu's Parliament today calling for Temporary Special Measures for quotas or reserve seats.

There are currently no women MPs and there have only been five since Vanuatu gained independence 39 years ago.

However, not all women leaders in Vanuatu are backing the call for quotas or 50 percent of seats to be reserved for women.

Representatives from the Coalition for Gender Equality, the Vanua'aku Pati, and the Penama Vavine Bulu Association are leading a group of women who say they do not support the NGO-driven petition.

The group told the Daily Post the Minister of Internal Affairs, Andrew Napuat, should preserve the sovereignty of Vanuatu.

It said reserve seats had existed in Municipal councils for two terms and leaders should stop the reserve seat measure and encourage woman to get involved in their respective political parties.

The women also accuse Oxfam of interfering in Vanuatu politics and urged Mr Napuat to look into the NGO's status in the country.