16 Feb 2019

Oma hampers Solomon Islands election preparations

10:50 am on 16 February 2019
Chief Electoral Officer Mose Saitala

Chief Electoral Officer Mose Saitala Photo: Supplied

Election preparations in Solomon Islands are being hampered by severe weather from Cyclone Oma.

The category two storm has been circling to the south of the country all week and it is forecast to strengthen to a category three system.

All flights to affected provinces have been grounded and all ships are weathering the storm in port.

This is affecting travel plans for intending candidates, who are required to register their nominations in person by next Wednesday.

The chief electoral officer, Mose Saitala, said the commission has decided to set up extra nomination centres in Honiara and various provincial headquarters.

"The real problem is that Solomon Airlines grounded their flights and ships are not sailing. Even our commercial helicopter here refused to fly because of bad weather," he said.

"In other words they [intending candidates] are really stuck wherever they are mostly in provincial headquarters and also in Honiara. So the commission has to make some decisions about this problem."