2 weeks time

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Mr Saitala

Governor General to announce national general elections date on February 5

 

By Charles KADAMANA and Alfred SASAKO

THE Governor General is expected to announce the 2019 National General Elections date on February 5.

This was confirmed by Chief Electoral Commission Mose Saitala in an exclusive interview with Island Sun yesterday.

Saetala said February 5 is the proclamation date for the election.

There are three dates that the Governor General will choose from.

It could be March 27, April 3 or April 10.

But, Saitala said the Electoral Commission preferred April 10.

“April 10 is the preference by the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC), but that will be up to the Governor General. He will be the one to make the call,” he said.

“As things stand, the Governor General would make the proclamation on February 5. Nominations would be opened the next day, which is February 6, and would remain so for two weeks.”

Candidates would be required to travel to their constituencies to lodge their nominations and to pay their nomination fee, he said.

Saitala also spoke of his satisfaction with preparations thus far, adding he was “pretty happy with arrangement”.

He pointed to the completion of the final voter list, which he said, was approved last Friday. Some 359,690 people have registered to vote in this year’s election – an increase of 72,123 voters over last year’s figure.

He said a week-long training for electoral staffs would begin on Monday January 28 to February 1.

In terms of funding, Mr Saitala said the Government had pretty much kept up with its commitment to funding the election.

“We have so far received a quarter (about SBD10 million) of the $40 million earmarked for the 2019 National General Elections. This money is being kept in trust, purposely for funding the elections. The balance would be paid as we progress towards the election itself.

“Australia and New Zealand have also indicated separate funding support and in-kind support, including the use of helicopters to airlift ballot boxes from polling stations in the hinterland, particularly in places like East Kwaio and East Are Are.

“Others such as the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, the Pacific Forum Secretariat, the European Union as well as the United States of America would be supporting the election via sending their observers to the election,” Saitala said.

“It is all good and I am pretty happy.”