Issues impact voters

MOST voters will be influenced by issues that matter most to them when casting their votes during this year’s general election, says Associate Professor and Head of the School of Government, Development and International Affairs, Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Sandra Tarte.

Prof Tarte said this could range from bread and butter issues such as the cost of living and wages.

“Obviously, campaigning matters. Voters will be swayed by how effectively parties project their policies and communicate their message,” she said.

Prof Tarte said the 2018 General Election would be a crucial election than the 2014 polls, simply because it would provide an indicator of the country’s future political direction.

“Are we seeing a consolidation of a competitive multi-party system or a consolidation of one party rule? There are many countries where one party has remained in power for a long time,” she said.

“Sometimes this is because of the voter preferences. But other times, it is because the incumbent government has skewed the system to ensure it remains in power.

“We are at an important juncture in our political history. There is an opportunity in this election to build on the democratic progress we have made over the past four years. We may not get another chance.

“We are also seeing a more diverse range of candidates stepping forward, representing a wide cross section of society. This is very positive. But what is most important at this point in time as we move to consolidate our democratic institutions and processes is that people engage politically and have confidence that they can make a difference.”

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