Pacific Islands Forum sends observer team to monitor 2016 General ElectionPosted: January 15, 2016
The Pacific Islands Forum has deployed a team of electoral observers to scrutinize the January 22 General Election.
They will join the Commonwealth’s team of electoral observers to enhance the transparency and accountability of the General Election. They will be present throughout every stage of the voting and counting process on election day, to help ensure that the vote is free and fair.
The Forum Observer Team comprises Mr Pita Vuki, Commissioner and Supervisor of Elections of the Kingdom of Tonga, and Ms Taggy Tangimetua, Chief Electoral Officer of the Cook Islands. The team is supported by the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.
The Forum Observer Team will be based in Efate from 14—25 January. They will meet with Vanuatu Government representatives, civil society, churches, development partners, regional and international agencies and the diplomatic corps ahead of polling day to gain an enhanced understanding of the electoral and political environment in Vanuatu.
“The Pacific Island Forum has deployed observing missions to national elections in our Member countries for a number of years now, with the most recent being to Solomon Islands in November 2014 and Bougainville in May 2015,” says Forum Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor.
“On behalf of the Forum, I welcome the invitation from the caretaker Government of Vanuatu to observe these elections. I would also like to thank the Governments of the Kingdom of Tonga and the Cook Islands for making their senior electoral officials available to participate in the mission. This represents, in a very practical way, the Forum community’s commitment to the promotion of democratic values and good governance.”
“Electoral observation is an important aspect of elections which contribute to transparency and accountability of electoral processes,” says team leader Vuki.
The Pacific Islands Forum’s electoral observation work is guided by the Biketawa Declaration (2000) under which Forum Leaders committed to “uphold the individual’s inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political process in framing the society in which he“or she