New electoral law passed in Solomon Islands

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands in Honiara. Photo: RNZ Koroi Hawkins

HONIARA, 23 AUGUST 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – A new law aimed at strengthening Solomon Islands’ electoral system has been passed by the country’s parliament.

The Electoral Act of 2018 scraped through its third reading in the house Wednesday, securing the two thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

Remote voting, regular reviews of the voters’ register and higher candidate nomination fees are some of the changes to be brought in.

Other provisions include making it compulsory for employers to release workers on polling day and special considerations for assisting people with disabilities to cast their votes.

The law also requires candidates to present party certificates.

The Parliamentary Bills and Legislations Committee has applauded the attempt to strengthen the electoral system but also urged the government not to abandon the search for a better electoral system.

The committee noted the law did not address the structural deficiencies inherent in the First-Past-The-Post system.

It is unclear how many, if any, of the proposed changes will come into effect in time for next year’s elections.

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