Record number of electoral disputes expected after general electionPosted: October 26, 2012
Records are expected to be broken with the elections of next Tuesday. There will be a record number of election disputes, the Government says, in an election with an impossibly large number of voters. It is only the caretaker Kilman Government which is anticipating these disputes. Are they setting the stage for election disputes of their own devising? Daily Post today suggests there will be porn pictures of candidates and embarrassing messages hijacked from the internet. Already we have had one in wide circulation concerning large unexplained payments to a senior town hall official from a Ministerial partner of an earlier time. However, it is somewhat disingenuous to suggest that having two days’ space between close of campaigning and polling will suddenly result in a deluge of dirty tricks.
The number of people on the electoral roll is of far greater concern. We are owed an answer from the Electoral Commission on this one. The Government’s last census indicated that the population above voting age should be 119,168. So why are 192,215 people on the electoral roll? Have deaths not been recorded by the electoral registration officers, whose job is to make sure living voter qualifications are in order when they visit all households to update the electoral roll? This significantly inaccurate figure would seem to indicate a serious systemic failure on the part of the Electoral Commission. These phantom voters must not be allowed to influence on the outcome of the election, and we must have an answer ASAP from the Electoral Commission about why the electoral roll is not being properly maintained. Transparency International Vanuatu, too, raises the issue today. Are 40% of Vanuatu’s registered voters invalid or fraudulent? Electoral observers, please take note of the number of people voting at your polling station compared with the number on the electoral roll for that polling station.
Campaigning finishes tomorrow, Saturday night at midnight Radio Vanuatu News tells us. They also advise us against defacing posters, as some vandals are doing.
A note from our contributor Bob Makin: this blog is provided for free and is very widely read, much wider than I could have expected. Many people know the identity of the compiler of the majority of the contents of these daily news digests (me), but I feel obliged to mention that there are a number of others who have a hand in making the blog the success it is, who also have permission to comment. Comment should be free. And I would like to encourage more people to comment in future on this blog, after elections bring us the Government we deserve (?). However, I would take issue with the tone of the blog yesterday as regards candidate Barak Sope. Yes, he must bear responsibility for the grave faults of yesteryear attributed to him. He cannot shrug them off, although I am not aware of his trying to do so. There is one thing I would have added, however: Sope saved the Fatumaru beach for the residents of the highly populated inner suburbs. I am not going to join his campaign team. I have strenuously tried to avoid sounding campaigning in this blog. It must remain that way. That is essentially its success.
The Appeals Court Thursday afternoon dismissed the case of the former Commissioner of Police Joshua Bong, meaning that Acting Commissioner Arthur Caulton remains in the post. On the evidence available to the court and a consideration of all the issues raised, the full bench decided they could not intervene in the decision already taken by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, Bong’s appeal was dismissed.
Over 2,000 tourists are expected on the largest cruise ship to ever visit Vanuatu, we have been told by The Independent and Daily Post. Fortunately, the elections (bar disputes) will be out of the way when Carnival Spirit comes in to Port Vila. It will arrive in the capital on Thursday. It is also going to Santo, Wala and Mystery Island.