The seven suspects in the kidnapping and violence case of the woman tourism official will appear in court on 31 March. The court has allowed them to remain outside custody but with severe conditions. The whole issue remains Read the rest of this entry »
By Anna Naupa and Nick Howlett
Part 2 of a 3-part series on Vanuatu’s Electoral Integrity
VANUATU’S NATIONAL ELECTIONS give citizens the opportunity to shape the nation’s future through their choice of political representation. Electoral boundaries and the total number of constituencies have shifted over the years in response to demographic changes. A recent media report suggested that electorates will be again be modified sometime before 2020. Today, there are 52 seats in the national parliament, with MPs drawn from most of Vanuatu’s different islands.
However, this seeming diversity masks the lack of representation of different demographic groupings within Parliament: women, young people, people with disability, religious minorities and other groups that are not part of the mostly male political elite are effectively excluded. The omission of a significant proportion of the population disadvantages Vanuatu’s national development, because their contributions and needs are left out of the political debate. Read the rest of this entry »
2012 election worst in history, politicians tell Daily Post this weekend. A political leader well-known for using the technique of bribery was alleged to have offered money to newly-elected members of the national Parliament. However, no name was given. Nevertheless, Daily Post went on to mention “numerous reports of electoral fraud, before and after Election Day”. This blog has mentioned a number of such cases. The Electoral Commission is also accused of maladministration of the poll in certain places.
On the other hand, historian Dr Howard Van Trease pointed out to USP academics and historians yesterday that the single non-transferable voting system (SNTV) used in Vanuatu is still workable if managed properly. It was used as intended to ensure a fair representation of francophones in its earliest manifestations (late ’70s, early ’80s), a linguistic and cultural grouping which could have been overwhelmed by the largely anglophone Vanua’aku Pati. If not used misused by particular political interest groups, the SNTV system can give a voice to communities feeling sidelined: this time—2012—it was women. The multiplicity of parties and independent candidates, as presently the case, Trease acknowledged, hinders the proper management of the SNTV system. Vanuatu however, unlike many other countries when faced with disputes and major electoral complaints, does not resort to violence, but falls back on the courts. “The court gives its decision,” Howard Van Trease said, “and Vanuatu moves on.”