Solomon Islands Considers Electoral System Reform Prior To 2018 Poll

First-past-the-post voting likely to be replaced by limited preferential voting

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 8, 2016) – First-Past-the Post (FPP) voting system which Solomon Islands has been practicing during elections since Independence is likely to be changed in the 2018 elections.

An electoral reform team has been assigned to do consultation nationwide on election system and the electoral legislative reform. 

The new system being introduced by the electoral reform team as part of its consultation around the provinces is the Limited Preferable Voting (LPV). 

The team is now in Malaita following similar visits in Choiseul and Western Provinces. 

According to the team, the main reasons the government wanted to change the FPP voting system to LPV are: 

  • The FPP system always elected MPs with a small majority of the vote cast.
  • The FPP system produces weak mandate for MPs and high wastage of votes.
  • The FPP system is not helpful in getting women elected in parliament.
  • It is described as the least system to help develop political parties. 

As for the LPV voting system, 

It will allow voters to choose between candidates, ranking them numerically in the order illustrating voters’ most preferred candidate to the least preferred candidate.

When counting, the first choice shall be counted first and if a candidate has won with an absolute majority (50%+1), that candidate shall be declared elected immediately. 

However, under the LPV voting system if the no candidate has an absolute majority the candidate with the lowest number of the first preference drops off his or her ballots transferred to the remaining candidates marked in those ballots as the second preferred candidates. 

If again, there is no candidate with an absolute majority, ballots paper for the candidate with the lowest votes are redistributed according to voters’ third preference. 

This process will be repeated until one candidate has attained an absolute majority. 

The electoral reform team said after consultations in Choiseul, Western and Malaita provinces, many people preferred the LPV voting system.

Solomon Star
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