VANUATU WORKSHOPS HOPED TO INCREASE VOTING

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Poor registration to be addressed before 2012 elections

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 16, 2012) – The Electoral Commission in Vanuatu is hoping 80 percent of eligible voters will register for this year’s general elections.

Voter registration officers from the six provinces are attending a workshop this week to learn about the importance of voting and how to boost enrolments.

The chairman of the Electoral Commission, John Taleo, says voter registrations were only 35 percent in 2008 and he hopes this will rise to 80 percent.

"It’s very, very poor. I mean registration is not compulsory in Vanuatu but we are trying our best since 2008 to 2012. So in fact the registrations are increasing rapidly this year so we are expecting more people to vote this year."

John Taleo says more election education workshops will be conducted prior to the elections which are to be held by the end of the year.

[PIR editor’s note: More than 25 participants will attend the three-day event in Port Vila to improve awareness for constituencies and are expected to convince people in their own communities to register for the elections scheduled at the end of this year. Commission Chairman John Taleo hopes to "broaden their knowledge to understand the rights and the benefits of the people of Vanuatu."]

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