Cross constituency registration to get tougher: PM Sogavare


PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare is saying that a Bill to amend the Electoral Act is expected to be tabled in Parliament in about June/July this year.

He said a Taskforce on Electoral Reform, which was established by the Electoral Commission to assist the Commission in implementing its Electoral Reform Strategy Framework, has completed its provincial consultations and is now working on consolidating its report and recommendations for change to certain aspects of our electoral laws.

Sogavare highlighted on the floor of Parliament in speech that big ticket items such as simultaneous elections and out of constituency/out of country voting would be discussed at this proposed workshop with Members of this House.

“It is also important to note that during the forthcoming voter registration exercise, the Commission will introduce a new requirement where eligible voters registering for the first time as well as those applying to change constituencies will need to provide some evidence enabling them to register in the Constituency applied for. This will hopefully minimize so-called cross-border registrants. More information on this will be released shortly so that eligible voters are well informed of the process”, Sogavare said.

He said voter registration is expected to commence in July this year and I understand that the Commission intends to also pre-register 17-year-olds as provided for in Division 5 of the Electoral Act 2018. This is being done for the first time. When the person turns 18, the person’s name will be transferred to the final list of electors for the relevant constituency.

Sogavare also said one of the major changes is the proposed holding of simultaneous elections in 2024. What this means is that when Parliamentary elections is held in 2024, the general elections for 7 provincial assemblies and Honiara City Council will be held on the same day.

The two provinces which will not participate in simultaneous elections in 2024 will be Choiseul and Western provinces because they recently had their Provincial elections in 2022. They will however be part of the simultaneous election program in 2028.

Therefore Sogavare said to facilitate the holding of simultaneous elections and in order to defer the general election dates of Honiara City Council and the remaining 7 provincial assemblies to 2024, Parliament will soon deliberate on a Bill to amend the Honiara City Act and another to amend the Provincial Government Act.

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