Thursday, 5 August 2010 9:27 AM

Elections for Ontong Java Deferred

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has deferred the date for election in Ontong Java to Monday 9 August 2010.

The Electoral Commission met yesterday afternoon to defer the election date because it had not been able to transport election officials and ballot papers to the remote island.

Last week, the Baruku broke down on its way to Ontong Java, leaving the Returning Officer, polling officials, police and election materials stranded in Honiara.

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Rt Hon Sir Peter Kenilorea, said it was very unfortunate for voters on Ontong Java, Malaita Outer Islands constituency, to not go to the polls with the rest of the country.

"I would like to assure the people of Ontong Java that we have tried our very best to deliver officials and materials in time for Wednesday 4 August," Sir Peter said.
"Despite our best efforts since the breakdown of the Baruku last week, we have not been able to secure another ship big enough for the current rough seas and bad weather."

However, the Chairman confirmed that the people of Sikaiana, Malaita still went to the polls yesterday. The deferment of election in Ontong Java will delay the counting of ballots for Sikaiana Malaita Outer Islands only.

The secured ballot boxes for Sikaiana will be transported to Honiara by chopper after polling wait in a secure location until the ballot boxes for Ontong Java are also ready to open and count in Honiara.

The Electoral Commission is hopeful of securing another ship after the rush of voters back to their home constituencies to vote.

Under the section 65 of the Electoral Act, the Electoral Commission has the power to appoint a new date for the election in any constituency or ward should the need arise.

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