COMMONWEALTH Observer Group warns members in the community to give free access to candidates to do their campaigning in their respective constituencies.
This came after reports that former Members of Parliament (MP) were chased and banned from campaigning in certain communities around the country ahead of the polling day on November 19.
Chairman of the group, Sir Mekere Morauta, told the Solomon Star in an interview that it’s not right to stop candidates wishing to do campaigning in their constituencies.
“Candidates should be given freedom and access to do campaigning, even if you don’t like him or her.
“We should listen to candidates doing their campaign and make our choice at the polling day,” Sir Mekere said.
However, he said situation in Honiara was relatively quite compared to Papua New Guinea in leading up to polling day, which was normally tense.
His ten-member team is preparing to be deployed throughout the country in the coming days before the start of the poll.
The former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea between 1999 and 2002, in his key message to voters throughout Solomon Islands, said this is an opportunity after every four years to exercise your rights in electing a right leader.
“You have the responsibility for your country, children and children’s children to make sure people elected are good leaders.
“Therefore, it’s a serious matter, so think carefully before exercising your right at the polls,” he said.
The arrival of the observation team was based upon the request of Solomon Islands Electoral Commission.
The Group will consider the pre-electoral environment and preparation.
On Election Day and thereafter, it will observe the voting process, counting and tabulation procedures and the announcement of results, in light of international standards for democratic elections to which the country has committed itself.
In doing its work, the Group will act impartially and independently, and will conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.
At the end of its mission, the Commonwealth Observer Group will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Solomon Islands, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, political parties, Commonwealth governments, and the public.
The Observers will be in Solomon Islands from 11-29 November.
They will be supported by a Secretariate team, led by Albert Mariner, Head of Caribbean and Pacific Section of the Political Division.
BY EDDIE OSIFELO