Solomon Islands Electoral Office has fostered partnership with the Office of DPP with an objective to assist SIEO staff understand the prosecution aspect of the Electoral Act.
Deputy Director Public Prosecution Mr Andrew Kelesi held a half day training session with SIEO staff on the Electoral Act especially on Offense and Penalties, and compliance.
This was in response to Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner’s request for DPP assistance in exploring options for better administrate the EA in which her office is custodian.
Mrs Jane Waetara expressed her gratitude to DPP office for their positive response and delivery of this informative and worthwhile discussion.
Read more: SIEO Fostered Partnership with Office of Director Public Prosecution
Candidates contesting South Choiseul National By-Election on the 19th of May 2021 are advised to Submit their Election Campaign expenditures accounts before 15th of September this year.
Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner, Mrs Waetara said that this is to comply with SECTION 125 of the Electoral Act 2018.
The law requires all candidates contesting in any national parliamentary election in this case, recent national by-election for South Choiseul Constituency, must file their election related campaign expenditures to the Chief Electoral Officer within a 90 days period beginning a day after the date the election result for that particular election is published in the gazette, Mrs Waetara Explained.
Read more: South Choiseul By-Election Candidates Urged to Submit Election Campaign Expenses.
Two provincial ward By-Elections will also go to the poll on the 19th May along with South Choiseul National By-Election.
Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner Mrs Jane Waetara confirmed the election date appointed by the minister for provincial government and Institutional Strengthening Hon. Rolland Seleso.
Read more: Two Provincial Ward Elections to go to the poll on 19th May
Six Candidates nominated to contest in the upcoming poll for South Choiseul National By-Election on the 19th May, 2021.
Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner, Mrs Jane Waetara confirmed this after receiving report from the Election Manager for the South Choiseul National By-Election at the close of nomination today (yesterday)
She confirmed that, there’s one (1) female and five (5) male candidates that have filed their nomination applications.
“The six candidates’ political affiliation are as follows: -
- Jackson Kiloe - People First Party
- Sammy Qalo - Independent
- Luxton Bauro Koraua - Independent
- Tozen Leokana - Independent
- Naneeth Tutua - Independent
- Amos Papaqui Qurusu - Independent
“The Returning Officer will validate their eligibility to contest in the by-election after further assessment of their nomination applications”, Mrs Waetara said.
The 14 days nomination period opened on the 24th of March and closed on the 7th of April.
Candidate who wishes to withdraw his/her candidacy must inform the Returning Officer in writing before the 9th April.
Candidates do note that, the listing on the ballot paper will not be according to the order in which you have filed in your nominations.
The returning Officer will conduct a ballot paper order draw to determine candidates’ position on the ballot paper on the 10th of April at the Malangono Nomination Centre, South Choiseul Constituency.
This event can be witness by any interested candidate and interested public.
The Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner would like to remind eligible voters from South Choiseul Constituency that Election Day is on the 19th May.
The CEO urges all eligible voter to make sure check the Electoral notices at any closest polling venue for details information on the polling day, voting procedures, campaign offenses and penalties, and most importantly to confirm their names on the voter list before the Election Day.
Voters do note that, only those who have registered for south Choiseul constituency and have voted in 2019 National General Election are eligible to vote in the coming election.
For more information on this by-election or election in Solomon Islands in general, please call 7222200 from 7:00am -7:00pm to enquire. Liked Solomon Islands Electoral Commission Facebook page or Visit SIEC website: www.siec.gov.sb. You can also listen to Solomon Islands Electoral commission’s Voter Awareness Program on SIBC every Friday 5:45pm for updates on the election event.
Voters from South Choiseul Constituency will now go to the poll to elect their Member of Parliament on 19th May, 2021.
This was confirmed by signing of the Election date instrument by His Excellency, the Governor-General, Sir. David Vunagi, which was later published in the gazette today (yesterday)
Chief Electoral Officer, Mrs Jane Waetara said that By-Election Date legal instrument and its publication in the gazette initiates the 56 days election timeline lead up to Election Day.
Nomination of candidates will start from 24th March till 7th of April 2021. Candidates wishing to contest in the by-election are to see Returning Officer who is stationed at Malangono nomination center in South Choiseul Constituency to receive nominations.
South Choiseul Constituency parliamentary seat has left vacant for almost a year, since Hon. Robertson Galokale had lost the seat through a successful election petition launched against him following the 2019 National General Election.
The publication of the election date has opened the legal election campaign period which begins from the 23rd March till midnight on the 17th May, 2021.
“Mrs Waetara wants to remind voters, candidates and their supporters that, campaigning outside the legal campaign period is an election offense with a heavy penalty”, Mrs Waetara said.
She adds, “this by elections is a result of finding candidates not complying with election rules and so intending candidates must be aware of the election rules and offences, to conduct themselves and their supporters in accordance to the Electoral Act”.
Section 124 of the Electoral Act 2018 provides a maximum penalty of $20,000, or 2 years imprisonment or both for a candidate convicted of campaigning outside the campaign period.
There is no voter registration update for these by elections; therefore, all voters registered for the 2019 NGE will remain as approved by the Electoral Commission.
Solomon Islands Electoral Commission would like to call on voters from South Choiseul Constituency and interested public to check all available media outlets for more updates regarding the by-election.
Voting outside your constituency is one of the goals that Electoral Commission is determined to achieved.
Chairman of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, Hon Patteson Oti in a statement said that, based on the successful implementation of the pre-poll legal provision in 2019 national general elections, the Electoral Commissions has been planning to pilot the ‘out of constituency voting’ (OCV) service during the South Choiseul Constituency National By-Election 2021.
“However, the trialling plan to implement this ‘out of constituency voting’ (OCV) will now no longer be possible in the coming South Choiseul By-Election”, Hon Oti Said.
Hon. Oti said that, whilst the Electoral Act 2018 (section 94) provides for pre-polling voting services for election officials, the inclusion and application for out of constituency voting under that provision of the Electoral Act is much more complex than envisaged, and which will potentially require further amendment to the Electoral Law.
In the statement, Hon Oti explained that ‘Out of Constituency Voting’ facility would enable voters to vote outside their constituency, through a pre-polling arrangement under an expanded category of voters under S.94 of the Electoral Act 2018.
“This voting service would enable those whose names on the voter list for constituency they are registered in, but will not be at their polling station on election day, therefore can still vote by way of application for pre-poll from anywhere in the country,” Hon. Oti elaborated.
“Unfortunately, trialling of the out of constituency voting during the South Choiseul by-election will now no longer be possible due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, including legal limitations under the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.”
“Firstly, Electoral Commission’s good intension for the implementation of the out of constituency voting (OCV) service was during pre-covid19 times, however, with the onslaught of covid-19 pandemic last year, its negative impact on all government finances is being felt throughout all government agencies including the Office of the Electoral Commission, Hon Oti explained.
“Secondly, there needs more enabling arrangements both within the SIEO staff capacity and specific provisions in the law, to enable informed preparation of more robust and electoral operation plan that will ensure an effective and efficient delivery of this election OCV services to the people”, Hon. Oti continued.
While the Commission is currently committed to exploring legal provision of additional services to the electorate, such as OCV, its ability to do so requires that there are enabling legal provisions providing the legal basis for such services, improved staff capacity, finance and a robust and credible operations plan
Accordingly, if such requirements are fulfilled, then the Commission will be in a position to assess the possibility of embarking on such services for the 2023 national general elections.
The Electoral Commission has instructed the Chief Electoral Officer and her Team to continue to work on the operation plans for this, in the event an opportunity arises before the 2023 national general elections to pilot OCV. Otherwise, Solomon Islands Electoral Commission will just have to ensure that national operation plans are as detailed, robust and credible as can be for the 2023 national general election and at the same time to continue to work on the necessary adjustments to the electoral law.