Vanuatu Electoral Office Rejects Applications For Convicted MPs

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Group found ineligible to stand in snap elections

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 5, 2016) – Vanuatu's electoral office says it has received applications from 10 jailed former members of parliament to contest this month's snap election.

14 MPs were jailed after they were convicted of bribery in October, which triggered a deadlock in parliament that prompted the president to call the snap election.

The four other convicted former MPs -- including former prime minister Moana Carcasses, who spearheaded the payments -- have put forward relatives or former secretaries to stand on their behalf.

But an advisor with the electoral office, Martin Tete, says any candidate who is serving a prison term is ineligable to contest the election, and nine of the applications have already been rejected.

"The electoral office has received 10 applications and we have received note from the police with the decision of the court recently, and we have removed all the applications from those we have received so far."

[PIR editor’s note: On Jan. 6, 2016 RNZI reported that ‘Vanuatu's electoral office says it has been allocated US$142,000 less than what it estimates it needs to carry out this month's snap election. ... The acting principal electoral officer, Joe Johnson Iati, says the office estimates the election will cost $765,000, but it has only been allocated $622,000.’]

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