More than 200 people have attended a meeting at the National Museum Auditorium aimed at briefing intending candidates ahead of the National General Election.
The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission Candidates Briefing was the first of its kind to be held in the country and the Commission says it hopes to hold similar events in the future.
“We want to make sure that all intending candidates are aware of the rules, their rights and the correct procedures in relation to elections,” Chief Electoral Officer, Polycarp Haununu said.
The briefing was based on information that is contained in the SIEC’s Candidates Handbook, which is available from the SIEC Office and will soon be available from SIEC staff in each constituency.
Alongside SIEC staff, Deputy Registrar of the Political Parties Integrity Commission, Mr Albert Kabui and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gabriel Manelusi also addressed the briefing to discuss their roles in the electoral process.
Many intending candidates remarked that they found the briefing very useful and encouraged the SIEC to extend the program to the Provinces
The SIEC says that while it is unable to hold similar briefings in every constituency, copies of the Candidates Handbook that contains all of the information discussed at the briefing will be available from Assistant Returning Officers in every constituency when they go on their voter education tours after the close of nominations.
Assistant Returning Officers will be conducting voter awareness in every constituency as soon as the lists of candidates are finalized.
“We all must understand that we are a country of almost 1000 islands,” Mr Haununu said.
“We are constantly trying to find new ways to improve our awareness and education activities, but it is simply not possible with our current level of resources to hold briefings of this kind in every place for every candidate. But we strongly encourage intending candidates in the provinces to seek out the Candidates Handbook from the Assistant Returning Officers.”
The Candidates Handbook can also be accessed at www.siec.gov.sb
The SIEC is continuing to remind intending candidates that they must submit their nominations to the returning Officer in the constituency they intend to contest by October 22.