27 Mar 2020

Vanuatu electoral commission lacks quorum for official count

1:11 pm on 27 March 2020

The Vanuatu electoral commission cannot begin the official ballot count until a new chair is appointed to replace Martin Tete, who died suddenly this week.

Martin Tete.

Martin Tete. Photo: Twitter / Vanuatu Daily Post

The principal electoral officer, Joe Iati, accompanied the body of the late chairman to his home island on Wednesday.

Mr Iati said that the last lot of ballot boxes from the north of the country arrived in Port Vila this morning.

But he said the Electoral Act required two members of the commission and the chairperson to be present before the official count could begin.

Mr Iati said a new chair could be appointed this week but even so official election results would not be ready until next week.

"I just want to say let us continue to remain calm and follow the instruction that our leaders are giving us and let's hope the situation will get better and our lives can return to normal."

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports political party lobbying is already under way with unofficial results from polling locations already widely known.

Vanuatu's president yesterday declared a State of Emergency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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