At the invitation of the Government of Vanuatu, the Pacific Islands Forum has deployed a team of electoral observers to Port Vila, Vanuatu to observe the national elections which will be held on 22 January 2016.
The Forum Observer Team comprises Mr Pita Vuki, Commissioner and Supervisor of Elections of the Kingdom of Tonga, and Ms Taggy Tangimetua, Chief Electoral Officer of the Cook Islands. The team is supported by the Forum Secretariat.
The Forum Observer Team will be deployed in Efate from 14 to 25 January and will meet with a wide range of stakeholders –including representatives of government, civil society, faith based organizations, development partners, regional and international agencies and the diplomatic corps – ahead of polling day to gain an enhanced understanding of the electoral and political environment in Vanuatu.
The Forum Team will observe all aspects of the elections, including the opening of polls, casting of votes, closing of polling, and the count.
“The Pacific Island Forum has deployed observing missions to national elections in our Member countries for a number of years now, with the most recent being to Solomon Islands in November 2014 and Bougainville in May 2015,” said Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor. “On behalf of the Forum, I welcome the invitation from the caretaker Government of Vanuatu to observe these elections. I would also like to thank the Governments of the Republic of Tonga and the Cook Islands for making their senior electoral officials available to participate in the mission. This represents, in a very practical way, the Forum community’s commitment to the promotion of democratic values and good governance.”
”Electoral observation is an important aspect of elections which contribute to transparency and accountability of electoral processes,” stated Mr Vuki, who leads the Forum team.
The Pacific Islands Forum’s electoral observation work is guided by the Biketawa Declaration (2000) under which Forum Leaders’ committed, among other things, to ‘uphold the individual’s inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political process in framing the society they lived’.
-Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat