ELIGIBLE voters in Choiseul and Western Province will go to the polls today to elect their new members of the provincial assembly (MPA).
This comes after six months of waiting which denied the people of the two provinces from having any caretaker government to lead them after the natural death of their respective governments in June.
The one day election will be held throughout the two provinces after weeks and months of preparation. Many voters have been excited to cast their votes.
The election was supposed to be held on 14th June but was deferred for Wednesday 14th December 2022.
Preparations have been going on well and the Solomon Islands Electoral Office (SIEO) is hopeful today’s election will be successful.
As of last week many eligible voters have traveled to their respective wards.
But the numbers increased in the past two days and yesterday ahead of the polling this morning.
Since Sunday, voters living in Honiara have also traveled into the two provinces by ships to cast their ballots.
Many more voters from the surrounding islands have also traveled by outboard motors from the main centres like Gizo, Noro, Ringgi and Munda to their respective islands.
Yesterday, Gizo, the Western Provincial capital was packed as voters boarded boatload of OBMs to travel out to the nearby islands of Kolombangara, Ranoggah, Simbo, Vella and Shortlands to cast their votes.
In Gizo yesterday the weather was fine in the morning followed by showers in the later in the afternoon.
The fine weather yesterday is expected to continue today to allow all the voters to visit their respective polling stations to cast their ballots.
Election officials have also undertaken two days of training on Monday and yesterday to prepare for today’s polling.
In the past days intending candidates have been busy conducting their final campaigns and preparing logistics to support their voters travel to their respective wards.
A voter Jones Gago is heading off to Vella yesterday and said he looks forward to casting his ballot this morning.
Another voter Mahe Tolipio was expected to travel to Ranoggah to cast his vote. However, transport is a problem for him.
Another voter who is based in Gizo but has a name to vote in Vella also faces similar situation.
“I face problem with transportation to travel,” he told the paper yesterday.
Ballot papers were successfully delivered to the two provinces over the weekend via a chartered flight.
Many voters said, come Wednesday, they are prepared to cast their ballots.
Counting is expected to be conducted in Gizo for all the nearby islands as of Thursday morning.
Results are expected by late Thursday or early Friday.
Once the new candidates are announced, lobbying will get underway to form a new government later this month or early Janiary.
A number of former premiers are also contesting.
By MOFFAT MAMU