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Movements and religious organisations that are discouraging their followers from casting their votes during the national general election should be charged under the Solomon Islands panel code.
That's according to the Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Jimmy Rogers during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office, Tuesday.
A question was raised by the local media concerning some movements and church organisations which are telling their members and follower not to participate in election because of their doctrines or rules.
It was discussed that these people however are still using the government services just like other eligible voters in their constituencies.
Dr Rogers said ultimately these types of groups have very strong principles which they imposed on their followers.
He added that under the constitution everyone has a right but our Electoral Act has not yet made voting on our national election a compulsory event for the eligible voters in the country.
“Once the Electoral Act make election a compulsory event then these groups such as Platform Movement, Jehovah Witness and other similar groups can be charged for criminal offence under our penal code,” Dr Rogers said.
He said at the moment they have room to move but then it comes back to individual right under the constitution.
Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Rick Hou when responding to the issue said past government have accommodated such religious beliefs not to vote for elected officials.
But with Platform Movement in Makira Hou said there was work done by the police to ascertain what has been going on with the group.
“But it was quiet a concern for the Parliament Members coming from those areas where Platform Movement have an impact,” he added.
Hou added that if the electoral office can raise this matter for further discussion the government will try and address this issue under the laws of this country.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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