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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Mar. 29) - Former Papua New Guinea Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet is leading a Commonwealth Eminent Persons Observer Group to help monitor the election on April 5 Solomon Islands general elections.

Amet and PNG’s Post Courier Editor-in-Chief Oseah Philemon arrived in the Solomons on Monday.

The two Papuan New Guineans are in the Commonwealth group put together by Secretary General Don McKinnon.

Others are Cema Bolabola, Executive Director, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, Fiji Islands; Joseph Borg, Vice-President National Affairs Local Councils Association, Malta; Kwame Damoah-Agyemang, former senior election official, Ghana; and Elaine Howard, chair of the Commonwealth Pacific Youth Caucus and Director of the Tonga National Youth Congress Tonga.

Apart from sending international observers, the Commonwealth Secretariat is also coordinating 80 domestic observers.

The Commonwealth Secretariat had in fact sent in an advance group into the country, which was stationed here since 16 March 2006.

It consists of Mose Saitala, former Legislative/Governance Adviser in the Pacific Islands Forum, and Kosi Latu, Adviser, Special Advisory Services Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The full observer group will start work tomorrow and will be supported by a team of officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by Juliet Solomon, Special Adviser in the Political Affairs Division.

According to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the observers have been invited in their individual capacities and the views they express regarding the elections will be their own and not those either of their representative governments or of the Secretariat. The observer team is to observe relevant aspects of the organization and conduct of the elections in accordance with the laws of the Solomon Islands.

It is to consider the various factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole and to determine in its own judgment whether the conditions exist for a free expression of will by the electors and if the results of the elections reflect the wishes of the people.

March 30, 2006

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

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