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Solomon Islands Election Observers Issue Statement

Voter turn-out was high on the Island of Makira.


Inside the polling station, dye was placed on voter's cuticles to indicate that they had voted.


The arduous task of manual ballot counting took several days to complete.

HONOLULU (August 10, 2010) – An international delegation of election observers who monitored last week’s elections in the Solomon Islands has issued a preliminary statementcongratulating the people of the Solomons for “an open and spirited electoral process that generated high voter interest.”

 

The Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership (APDP) mission, consisting of 20 observers from eight countries, was one among several delegations that observed the national parliamentary election.

 

The APDP delegates reported that the voting and ballot-counting process was “transparent and appears to be without significant irregularities.” However, the delegation did note some procedural inconsistencies which may merit further investigation by election officials. In particular, the delegation either observed or heard reports of a substantial number of potential voters turned away from polling places because their names were not included on the rolls.

 

As a result, the delegation would strongly recommend a thorough review of voter registration lists to minimize disenfranchisement and the potential for fraud. Observers also noted concerns over delays in voting procedures at some large polling stations.

 

These will be further elaborated in the Election Observation Mission’s final report which will be shared with government officials and non-governmental organizations. The ultimate legitimacy of the election can only be determined by the citizens of the Solomon Islands after all the votes are tabulated and any challenges adjudicated.

 

About the Election Observation Mission
Upon invitation by the Solomon Islands government and through a grant from the U.S. State Department, East-West Center organized the delegation in cooperation with the United Nations and the APDP to observe the 4 August 2010 National Parliamentary Elections. Joining other observation teams from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum, the Election Observation Mission included election specialists, government officials, academics and civil society representatives from eight countries including Australia, Mongolia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Korea, Timor-Leste, and the United States. The delegation was headed by the Honorable Sandra Sumang Pierantozzi, former Vice President and former Minister of State of the Republic of Palau.

 

On Election Day, observers traveled by air, land and sea to visit more than 150 polling stations throughout the country. Additionally, delegates observed the chain of transmission of the ballot boxes from a number of polling places to the provincial tabulation centers and witnessed the early tabulation process at various sites.

 

Preliminary Mission Findings:
Mission delegates reported that during the pre-election period, campaigning was largely peaceful and lively, and that the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission produced a range of useful informational materials. Media coverage suggested open, highly competitive campaigns were conducted for the 50 parliamentary seats. In future elections, the APDP observer team would encourage the expansion of issue-based exchanges among candidates and the development of means for ensuring even broader dissemination of information related to the election.

 

Based on Election Day observations representing a sample of voting sites, the APDP delegation noted some irregularities and procedural inconsistencies which may merit further investigation by election officials. In particular, the delegation either observed or heard reports of a substantial number of potential voters turned away from polling places because their names were not included on the roles. While this may not necessarily impact results, the delegation would strongly recommend a thorough review of voter registration lists to minimize disenfranchisement and the potential for fraud. Observers also noted concerns over delays in voting procedures at some large polling stations.

 

The Honorable Sandra Sumang Pierantozzi, Head of Delegation for the APDP, expressed her gratitude to the government and the people of the Solomon Islands for their warm hospitality to all members of the delegation. It is the delegation’s hope that citizens of the Solomon Islands will join future international election observation missions to other areas of Oceania and Asia.

 

To download the Election Observation Mission’s full statement, visit

 

https://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/resources/news/pdf/APDP_SOLOMONS_Preliminary_Statement.pdf

 

Photos from the observation mission are available by request.

 

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The EAST-WEST CENTER is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.