Review election laws, says Sir Puka

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 24, 2011

PARLIAMENT must review laws governing the conduct of elections, Abau MP Sir Puka Temu said.
He said the way the elections were conducted and votes counted should be changed so that the manner in which elections were conducted “can be free, fair and honest”.
He said the limited preferential voting had disadvantages and was not as fair as expected because some minority group did not have the opportunity of representation while bigger clans and communities had the upper hand.
Sports Minister and Nipa-Kutubu MP Philemon Embel said there were many areas which needed to be reviewed.
He said offences committed by electoral officials were not defined in the election laws.
He said there was a need to look at offences committed by officials during polling and counting.
He said there was a need to cut the campaigning period to avoid bribery and other associated costs by candidates and that campaigning should be restricted to specific locations where people could gather to hear candidates explain their policies and campaign platforms.
Attorney-General Sir Arnold Amet said there was a need for legislation for the time frame for each court of disputed returns.
According to the report, out of 53 election petitions, only eight had been successful, while 31 were dismissed and 14 withdrawn, he said.
Sir Arnold said there was a need for an amendment to have a number of parties with fewer members merge. He said this was because 17 of the 21 political parties had won less than seven seats and more than 10 parties won only one or two seats.