INTERNATIONAL electoral observers are starting to fly into the country to observe the first Solomon Islands National General Election (NGE) since the RAMSI left the country in 2017.
Solomon Island Electoral Office (SIEC) Chief Electoral Officer Mose Saitala told the media in Honiara, Monday.
According to Saitala they expect 200 electoral observers both internationally and locally that will be observing the election on the 3rd of April 2019.
“It will be very interesting that we will be relying a lot on our electoral observers to give us independent feedback on whether our election is fair and free,” Saitala said.
He further added that the electoral observers will be dispersed to different parts of the country to carry out their role independently.
International observers and domestic observers will observe the election process over the coming period.
Meanwhile, a team representing the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) have been deployed on 26 March and have met with Government representatives, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, civil society, faith-based organisations, political parties and independent candidates while in country.
In a statement from the PIF the Team will be deployed on Guadalcanal and Western Province and will observe all aspects of the elections – the opening of polls, casting of votes, closing of polling, and the count.
Saitala also mentioned that Team from the Melanesian Spearhead Group will also observe the coming election.
Interestingly this will be the first and historic election without the presence of the peace intervention force-RAMSI.
This year’s election will also be the first under the new electoral law which was passed last year 2018.
RAMSI has been in the Solomon Islands for solid 14 years before they officially left the country in 2017.
There were questions raised in the public domain if the coming election will be done in the true spirit of democracy.
By ANDREW FANASIA