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Candidate fee for national general election jumps by 40 percent

 

By Alfred Sasako

CANDIDATE’S fee for contesting the national general election next year is set to jump to $5,000, a 40 percent increase on the current fee, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has revealed.

“Yes, the new fee for a candidate contesting the election will be $5,000,” Island Sun was told last week.

“The current fee for a candidate contesting election is $2,000,” the Electoral Commission said, adding this would increase by $3,000 on the current fee. The Commission described the proposed fee as “a policy choice of our leaders.”

The Commission said the proposed fee is prescribed in the Electoral Bill 2018, which could become law once Parliament passed it in July this year. The Bill is the second on the Government’s legislative program for the July sitting of Parliament.

The Electoral Commission has also given a birds’ eye view on what to expect as the countdown to the 2019 National General Election has gone underway.

Next year’s National General Election is expected to be held either next February or next March at the latest.

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“Despite Parliament dissolution on December 17, 2018, the proclamation notice for the General Election by the Governor General will be issued after New Year.

“This is because the count-down to the polling day, by law, is dictated by the date of the proclamation notice. Although we want the Governor General to issue the proclamation notice after Near Year celebration, he must do so no later than 15 January,” the Electoral Commission said in response to written questions raised by Island Sun.

“If therefore the Electoral Bill 2018 is passed, and the GG made the proclamation by 15th January (for example) the earliest polling day for General Election would be 13th March 2019 (after 56 days from date of proclamation notice).

“If the new Electoral Bill is not passed the earliest polling day would be 27th February 2019 (after 42 days from proclamation notice),” the Commission said.

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission has confirmed that its proposed roll out date for voter registration would be July 27, 2018.

But it warned the proposed roll out might be delayed by two weeks “depending on the arrival of the batteries for the computers to be used by registration officials”.

The Commission said it had been advised that no airlines were able to fly the batteries over to Solomon Islands. As a result the batteries are being shipped to Honiara and are expected to arrive during the second half of July this year.

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