Petitions against winning candidates at the recent national general elections will close on Monday 20th May 2019.

To date it is understood four petitions have been filed, with more expected before the deadline.

MPs that have had petitions filed against them are Hon. Jackson Fiulaua, Hon. Jamie Vokia, Hon. Augustine Auga and Hon. Titus Fika. 

An election petition can be filed by an elector to the constituency, to which the petition relates, or a candidate for the election in the constituency.

Such a petition must be filed within 30 days after the results of the election is published under Section 7 of the Electoral Act 2018.

The Act also states that the Courts must decide a petition within 12 months after it is filed.

The petitions will test the efficacy of the new Act. Aside from losing one’s seat, there are serious penalties for major offences such as election bribery and fraudulent voting.

The penalties include up to 15 years imprisonment and/or fines of over $US19,000 as well as an automatic five-year ban on voting or standing in elections.

Lesser offences such as providing misleading information can still land offenders in jail for five years and possibly steep fines.