A CANDIDATE is allowed to register and contest a seat in any of the 50 constituencies in the country during an election.
That’s according to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) based on the Electoral Act 2018.
In its weekly program on Friday, the Electoral Office said there have been questions being raised by the public with them (SIEC) over the eligibility of some candidates from a different constituency contesting in another constituency.
But the law has allowed for this under the Electoral Act 2018, the SIEC stated.
A case, in particular, involves the former prime minister and member of parliament (MP) for Gizo/Kolombangara Gordon Darcy Lilo who is contesting a seat for the vacant Central Honiara constituency.
There were questions about his eligibility earlier when the news about his intention to contest came to light.
SIEC during the awareness program explained that a candidate can contest a seat in any constituency as long as three (3) registered voters from that particular constituency nominate him or her.
The candidate must be a Solomon Islander, is registered voter of a particular constituency, and affiliates to a political party, the Electoral Office added.
“The Electoral Act 2018 does not stop a registered voter from a different constituency to register as a candidate to contest for a seat in a different constituency,” the Office said.
The Act has allowed the freedom for a candidate to contest in any constituency, it added.
According to the Electoral Act 2018, it stated;
- A person who wishes to stand as a candidate for election in a constituency must be nominated by 3 electors who are registered in and reside in the constituency at the time of the nomination.
- The candidate must be a member of a registered political party that meets the requirements of section 65.
- Once approved candidates must pay $5000 as a registration fee to contest.
Meanwhile, the election office said work on preparing for the by-elections for Central Honiara and North East Guadalcanal is progressing.
In a statement last week Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Patteson John Oti has assured Constituents from North East Guadalcanal and Central Honiara Constituencies that preparations for the conduct of the two by-elections on November 18, are well underway.
Nominations had closed on Wednesday, 7 October, and the Electoral Office is well into preparation for ballot papers printing, the conduct of pre-polling, and the conduct of the election proper on November 18, the electoral office said.
Electoral Commission Chair Oti, is encouraging registered voters in the two constituencies to come forward and exercise their rights to choose the most suitable person to represent her or him in Parliament.
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Jane Waetara and her team have been liaising closely with the Covid-19 National Oversight Committee to ensure that they are doing everything correctly and within the emergency laws currently in place.
The safety of everyone is of course dependent also on the behaviour of voters in polling stations.
Hon Patteson Oti also wishes to inform voters in the two constituencies that the Electoral Commission has made a commitment to continue with the necessary preparation for the conduct of the two by-elections on November 18.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way election is conducted in all democratic countries. Election naturally draws people to congregate especially at polling stations or at political rally venues making them vulnerable to contracting the virus.
It is against this backdrop that the Electoral Commission is doing everything it can to ensure that the integrity in the conduct of an election (in a Covid-19 environment) is not compromised and that voters should not be fearful of coming to polling stations to exercise their rights at the ballot box.
The campaign in both constituencies by candidates is already underway.