Thursday, 20 November 2014 7:04 AM

Solomon Islanders Await Election Results

Solomon Islanders wait anxiously as counting starts today.

Reports from various polling stations around Solomon Islands are positive, all went well and voting has been peaceful.

"Our officers have retrieved all ballot boxes from the 867 Polling Stations throughout the country with the assistance of the RSIPF," said Polycarp Haununu, the Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission. 

"The ballot boxes were stored in secure locations, under police guard last night ready for counting to begin at 8 AM today.

"Polling day has run smoothly across the country and no major incidents or issues have been reported.We would again like to thank the public for their patience and co-operation."

It is an important election for the Solomon Islands, not just in terms of who will lead the country in the next four years but also in terms of how we choose our leaders.

Perceptions seem to be changing, people know what they want from a leader, they know that they could in fact change the way the country is being managed through their ballot papers. How that will translate into actual votes remains to be seen.

Solomon Islanders are confronted by certain realities, put broadly it is the cultural setting they find themselves in and also, for many, their economic circumstances.

Solomon Islanders are still more likely to vote for a relative, or block vote for a candidate chosen by elders or chiefs in their community. Many will complain quietly, but will still vote the way they are being told to vote.

Solomon Islanders, particularly those in the rural areas, are also quite vulnerable simply because of their personal circumstance. Many do struggle just to make ends meet. The promise of cash and food by candidates is enough to sway voters, some may say it is short sighted but that is what these people need – assistance today.

Counting will begin in less than an hour, who wins will either reinforce the above, or may in fact surprise many – Solomon Islanders want change, but change comes at a price, a small price for those that do not fully understand the pressure these voters face.

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