Govt plans reforms to Electoral Act; Budget brings no burden, says Finance Minister; Vt136 million for beef industry

voting Vanuatu election Jane Joshua in today’s Daily Post highlights two important changes the Salwai Government wants to make to the Representation of the People Act. Recent experience shows the wisdom of either or both. One is a requirement that persons standing for election must have a medical check-up and be able to produce a certificate of their health before being permitted to contest. It is only six weeks since the 2016 elections voted Havo Molisale the MP for Malo/Aore, yet the Member has died. There is no suggestion of ill-health in the 100 Days Plan, yet the government has likely established why Moli died. The country will need to be involved in a by-election to replace him as MP according to the existing legislation, and these are always extremely expensive. The other Government suggested change to the Act dealing with elections suggests that replacement of a deceased MP might best be accomplished by simply appointing Member the election candidate who won the next highest number of votes when an MP dies, i.e., not holding any by-election.

The Government is looking at the budget prepared in the first instance by the previous government in a way which will maximise every existing revenue potential without providing any new or increased fiscal burden on people, VBTC News reported this morning. This statement is made by the Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Gaetan Pikioune, following criticism from the Opposition and in advance of the Budget Sitting scheduled for March 21.

Radio Vanuatu also mentioned a workshop recently held which will lead to the improvement of the cattle industry in Vanuatu. A 4-year beef project is being set up on Santo, assisted by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and worth A$1.7 million (vt136 million). The beef industry contributed 12% of total exports at the end of last year and this was an increase of 15% on the same period at the end of the previous year.

Today’s Daily Post reports the Prosecutions inquiry into the allegation of conspiracy against Deputy PM Joe Natuman and Former Police Commissioner Aru Maralau regarding a past alleged police mutiny. The case was adjourned once again, this time until 2 pm next Wednesday by Chief Magistrate Felix Stevens. This case is to determine whether or not there is a case to be answered.


7 Comments on “Govt plans reforms to Electoral Act; Budget brings no burden, says Finance Minister; Vt136 million for beef industry”

  1. Benson T.Raptigh says:

    My view is we can go for any of the options mentioned but I think it is wise to have a nation wide consultation with people starting from Torres to Aneityum. Hear the Nation’s (Peoples) voice first. Then this will help the government of the day to make a final decision which we all believe that it will be the RIGHT DECISION from the people of Vanuatu but not from a Constituency only. This is my personal opinion and I respect everyone’s view.

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  2. Markson Tabi says:

    I think the decision taken by the new Prime Minister is good especially with medical checks, you have to be mentally, spiritually and physically healthy in order to represent the people in the parliament and also make some right decision, sometimes our representations make some wrong decision, so may be they are not healthy.

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  3. Rex says:

    Mi stap totaly supportem tingting blong Alan. Hemi more fair and logigue blong kat by eletion. Because yumi stap tockabout representation blong people insaed blong National Parlement. Imagine yumi stap long wan situation we wan candidat i win wetem 800 votes and runner up blong hemi i winim 200 votes. Spos candidat we i gat 800 votes i ded, bai i luk nogud blong candidat we i winim 200 votes i replacem hem long parlemen from most of the people i no wantem hem. So how nao bai yumi tockabout representation blong people long Parlement.
    Hemi personnal lukluk blong mi long issue ia.

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  4. Tony Seketa says:

    I think it is a good idea to simply appoint the next candidate who has the highest number of votes as suggested. if this happens the election results remains valid for the duration of 4 years.

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    • Alan Holden says:

      Sorry Tony but I think that is a rubbish way for the reasons I stated below. Although I respect your right to say it.

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    • dailyvanuatu says:

      I’m going to weigh in here also Tony – what you are proposing is undemocratic and contrary to Vanuatu’s Constitution, which says envy person gets one vote. If your proposal was to go ahead, the people who originally voted for Havo Molisale would be denied their vote on who they want to replace him in Parliament. As Article 4 of the Constitution says:

      (1) National sovereignty belongs to the people of Vanuatu which they exercise through their elected representatives.

      (2) The franchise is universal, equal and secret. Subject to such conditions or restrictions as may be prescribed by Parliament, every citizen of Vanuatu who is at least 18 years of age shall be entitled to vote.

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  5. Alan Holden says:

    It would be totally unconstitutional to allow a runner up to take the seat of a dead member. The runner up came second because they did not have the support of the people. This would be unfair and not representative of the electorate. A by election is the only way. As for giving all candidates a medical it would not find a candidate who was to have a stroke, heart attack or other unexpected illness now would it. Both ideas are not fit for purpose or democratic.

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