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Electoral Reform Consultations successfully concluded

THE Electoral Reform taskforce has successfully concluded all consultations on the proposed election system change.

The team this week wrapped up the provincial consultations with a two-day session held at the Forum Fisheries Agency Conference centre for Honiara based groups on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th.

The taskforce has held provincial consultations in three provinces last year namely Choiseul, Western and Malaita Provinces.

This year, the taskforce held seven consultations in the Central Islands Province, Isabel Province, Makira Province, Temotu Province, Rennel Bellona Province, Guadalcanal Province and Honiara.

The provincial consultations reached provincial government leaders, community leaders, civil society representatives, women groups’ representatives, Church and NGOs representatives in the provinces covered.

The consultations were held by the Electoral Reform taskforce which was tasked to undertake a comprehensive review of the National Parliament Electoral Provisions Legislation and the electoral legal framework in the Solomon Islands.

The provincial consultation process constituted 2 days at each province during which they looked at the possibility of a new election system for Solomon Islands, eliciting views of participants on the sensitive question of introducing temporary special measures (TSM) to provide specific seats for women in Parliament, introducing an anti-defection measure to bring about greater stability in the political arena and possible changes to the existing Electoral Act.

About 50 people representing various groups attended the consultations in each of the provinces that the taskforce visited.

The rates of attendance and high level of participation/feedback from the provincial consultations were considered a significant success.

The consultations are held to obtain the views and wishes of people in terms of an electoral system that is fair and equitable.

Feedback from the consultations will be compiled into useable tables that will assist the Electoral Reform Taskforce in writing up its final report.

The general objective is to significantly improve the holding and delivery of elections in the Solomon Islands.

The taskforce therefore expressed sincere gratitude and appreciation to all provincial leaders, community and church leaders, NGOs, civil society and women group representatives; and all who participated in the consultations, for their time and invaluable contributions.

The taskforce also extended its deep appreciation and acknowledgment to AusAid, EU and the Solomon Islands Government for aiding the reform exercise and UNDP through the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle of Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP), for the successful consultation implementation.

The Task Force comprises representatives from the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Home Affairs, Office of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.