72 hours left before election of 52 new Vanuatu MPs

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-Political parties and independent candidates throughout Vanuatu held their rallies in their respective constituencies to close their campaigns last night.

Under election rules, political campaigns have to stop 72 hours before polling day.

Following the number the candidates, over 100 rallies were witnessed by members of the public in the various constituencies.

A total of 219 candidates are racing for the 52 seats in the national Parliament.

Concerning electoral materials, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Edward Kaltamat, said the printing of ballot papers ended during the weekend and their delivery to 18 constituencies should normally ended Monday as planned.

Kaltamat said they had to send almost 10 million ballot papers, ballot boxes and the dissemination of election information throughout the country.

An Australian aircraft and two helicopters assisted in transporting the materials to the islands.

On the field, reports received by Daily Post from the islands confirmed that training of the polling officers have been completed, and they are ready to perform their duties on Thursday.

While the country is preparing to vote in the snap election on 13 October, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV), Dr Willie Tokon, is appealing to all voters from TORBA Province to TAFEA Province, to vote for those candidates who are God-fearing and already practising fairness, transparency, honesty and integrity in their lives.

The CEO advises against promises made by candidates who say they “will change and do this and that” if elected, saying, such promises are mere words with no weight as there is no guaranty that they will keep the promises they make.

Even worse he warns against believing “middle men who make promises on behalf of their candidates”.

He says it is absurd for middle men to be allowed to make promises on behalf of their candidates saying it just does not make sense to promise something being done by someone for someone else since there is a likelihood that it won’t be done.

“What all voters must look for are candidates who are already trustworthy and good people to vote for them, but not those who promise they will change when elected because they will never change,” Dr Tokon said.

“Voters must be able to ask their MPs questions they make on the campaign trail. That is why middle men are not the right people to make promises to voters.

“Tell the middle men that we don’t want you to make promises on behalf of our candidate because once he is elected, we will ask him about his promises and hold him accountable”.

TIV challenges all voters to vote in the Snap Election asking all voters not to go to the garden or the beach on a picnic. “Every eligible voter must cast his and her vote to effect political change because it is not right for people to complain after polling day when they do not cast their votes,” he said.

“What it means is that those who do not vote, contribute towards the re-election of those who win their seats for personal gain.

“The outcome of the imminent polling day should result in the election of new candidates to phase out all former MPs who entered the ‘red roof’ primarily to line their pockets with people’s money.

“The last election has identified all the good and bad leaders. If after his election, an MP has turned his back on his voters and lived in Port Vila, vote him out by voting for someone else.

“Those who lengthen parliamentary sittings to get more allowances for themselves, should not be voted back in. The reason is simple. This leads to personal gain while rural areas, isolated communities of Paama, South Epi and East Pentecost have been suffering for lack of basic health, education and shipping services for the last 43 years.

“Imagine a copra farmer transporting his bag(s) of copra to an inter-island vessel by canoe for lack of a jetty. This is still happening on some islands while the MP for the constituency is living a comfortable life in Port Vila.

“Voters must not vote for a candidate who arrives on the island to campaign then wins and disappears only to return to the island after four years for another campaign,” he said.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS