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29 August 2018
Mose Saitala

Intending candidates warned of changes to electoral law


THE passage of the newly amended electoral law puts a hard warning to intending candidates for the upcoming National General Election in terms of how they perform themselves during their campaign.

Solomon Islands Electoral Commission Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Mose Saitala urged the intending candidates to fully understand the law before starting to do their campaigns, as the newly amended electoral law has some changes with regards to some of the sections.

Mr Saitala said one of the areas to consider is the importance of understanding the awareness/campaign and how it is defined.

“Please refrain from doing things to extent, especially performing out of its intended definition as it will backfire at the candidate.”

He added that the current law is subjected to a fine of $5,000 to $10,000.

“The law is aimed at strengthening the electoral system and now it has very tough rules on it so please refrain from involving in such quick campaign that will backfire at you,” Saitala said.

Before it is amended, the law does not clearly state the actual definition of which candidate can do and will obliged to offend but with the recent one, it is much clearer of what actions would guaranteed to break the law.

According to the law itself, “in relation to the referendum campaign, it is vital to make sure that the voters hear the case put forward on both sides of an issue.

“Hence, campaign regulations may be implemented to try to ensure that there is a level playing field between organisations campaigning for and against the referendum.

“These might include limits on campaign expenditure (although in some countries limits may be deemed unconstitutional) and/or controls on the acceptance of campaign contributions, and control on the access to the media.

“In Quebec, all interested organisations must group themselves into two umbrella groups, while elsewhere any number of organisations can campaign independently for or against an issue being referred to the voters,” it was stated.

The Electoral Act of 2018 went through its third reading in the house on Thursday with the two thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.


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