A TEAM of electoral observers representing the Pacific Islands Forum is still in Honiara to observe the National General Elections which was held on 19 November.
The Forum Election Observer Team comprises Fr. Charles Vatu, Principal Electoral Officer of Vanuatu and Papali’i Malietau Malietoa, Electoral Commissioner of Samoa and is supported by a Forum Secretariat team led by the Forum Representative to Solomon Islands.
In thanking the Solomon Islands for inviting the Forum to observe the elections, Team Leader Fr. Vatu said:
“This invitation is consistent with Solomon Islands’ commitments to the principles of good governance, particularly under the Biketawa Declaration, which seeks to uphold democratic processes and institutions and the individual’s inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political processes in framing the society they live.”
Fr. Vatu congratulated Solomon Islands on recognising the importance of electoral observation in meeting their commitments to good governance, adding:
“I understand there are more than 90 observers of the 2014 Solomon Islands national elections, including domestic observers.
“We are hopeful that our collective observations and reports will be of use and taken into consideration by the government.”
The Forum Election Observer Team, which was deployed on 11 November, met with Government representatives, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, civil society, faith-based organisations, political parties and independent candidates, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, and members of the diplomatic corps based in Honiara.
“We want to ensure our report benefits from the widest possible range of views and experiences of Solomon Islands citizens, as well as other key stakeholders” said Papali’i.
“While the principles of good governance are immutable, we are cognisant of national circumstances, so will try our best to ensure our findings are accurate and reflect national contexts as much as possible.”
Papali’i added that “in the context of the Solomon Islands, different factors such as the rich cultural diversity and the geography of the country can affect elections preparations and processes, and as such, our observations cannot be made in isolation of these and other considerations.”
The Forum Election Observer Team were deployed in Guadalcanal and Malaita and observed all aspects of the elections – the opening of polls, casting of votes, closing of polling, and the count.