Thursday, 16 September 2010 10:40 AM

Nine Petitions Lodged

Nine election petitions have been lodged at the High Court so far.

The election was held in early August and those wanting to challenge results have until today to lodge a petition.

According to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, the latest petitions were lodged to challenge the seats won by the members of Parliament for West Honiara Namson Tran, Central Kwara'ae Jackson Fiulaua, South Vella La Vella Lionel Alex, North Guadalcanal Martin Sopaghe and East Are'are, Andrew Hanaria. They also challenge the Electoral Commission on the election process in these constituencies.

The recent election, although said to be free and fair by election observers, was marred by allegations of tainted ballots and tampered ballot boxes. This resulted in several violent confrontations, with one ballot box burnt by angry supporters of a losing candidate.

One of the observer groups, the Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership (APDP) mission, consisting of 20 observers from eight countries, was one among several delegations that observed the national parliamentary election.

The APDP delegates reported that the voting and ballot-counting process was "transparent and appears to be without significant irregularities." However, the delegation did note some procedural inconsistencies which may merit further investigation by election officials. In particular, the delegation either observed or heard reports of a substantial number of potential voters turned away from polling places because their names were not included on the rolls.

A spokesman for the government says that although some of the petitions were lodged against some of members of cabinet, it will be "business as usual" until such a time when they will need to make representations in court. "It is the proper forum for any disagreements arising from the elections, so yes we welcome the petitions."

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