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Proponents say changes would improve transparency

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 28, 2010) – The people of Nauru have voted against the proposed amendments to their constitution.

The government says nearly three thousand votes out of the almost 4,400 cast, opposed the 34 proposed changes.

Seventy-eight percent of the voters on the electoral roll turned out to vote in the referendum.

Two-thirds of votes cast at thereferendum were required to approve the Bill.

Instead, two thirds of the voting public chose the "No" option.

As in a general election, polling booths were stationed in all 14 districts around the island,

The Supreme law of Nauru was written before independence in 1968 and a process of constitutional reform began six years ago.

Advocates say the proposed changes to the Constitution were designed to improve the transparency and accountability of public institutions, and to make the Constitution more relevant to the Nauruan people.

The Constitution of Nauru (Referendum Amendments) Bill 2009 sought to strengthen human rights, change the way the President was elected, clarify the roles of the President and Cabinet and to provide stronger mechanisms for ensuring stability and continuity of the Government.

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