Call to change criteria for candidates

Islands, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A VILLAGE elder in New Ireland has called for residency qualification for intending candidates to be extended to three years.
Titus Momori from Bo village in Namatanai said it was common for candidates residing abroad to show up in the provinces only during election time and disappear afterwards.
“The minimum residency qualification of six months allowable under the electoral law is not appropriate.
“It allows people without solid background and understanding of local conditions and problems to seek mandate to govern,” Momori said, adding that this was wrong and unjustifiable.
“These fly-in-fly-out candidates cannot justify to the local people their qualification to take leadership charge of their lives and future over a five-year parliamentary term with minimum knowledge of the local situations.”
Momori said it was best that candidacies were left to fulltime residents or those who spent a minimum three years in a particular province.
He has also supported moves for shorter polling period instigated by the New Ireland government.
Momori called on the Electoral Commission and relevant government agencies to review the electoral laws taking the recommendation of the provincial government to shorten the polling period and the residency qualification.