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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 5) – Counting of votes from the Solomon Islands general election gets under way in most population centres this morning.

There are reports that some people who turned up to vote found that they were not on the electoral roll despite being registered.

The manager of the Electoral Assistance Programme for the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, Alistair Legge, says he has heard that this has occurred but he doesn’t know how many people were affected.

"The registration system does still need a lot of work," Legge said. "The law is quite outdated, it’s impractical for this country. The law is very sound but it’s for built up urban areas. It’s not designed to cope with nine provinces, 900-plus islands, great distances, very mobile population."

Mr Legge says final results might take up to ten days because of the distance those transporting ballot boxes will have to travel from remote areas to get to the closest counting centre.

Provisional results for urban areas are expected to be known sooner.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp., some 453 candidates from 13 parties contested the elections for the 50-seat parliament. More than 340,000 people were registered to vote. ]

April 6, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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