A team of electoral observers representing the Pacific Islands Forum (P.I.F) is in Apia to observe tomorrow’s General Elections.
The Forum Observer Team comprises of Calvin Ziru, Registrar of Political Parties in Solomon Islands and Bernard Grundler, Chief Secretary and Returning Officer of the Republic of Nauru and supported by Forum Secretariat staff.
The Pacific Islands Forum’s electoral observation work is guided by the 2000 Biketawa Declaration under which Forum Leaders’ committed to uphold the individual’s inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political process.
In welcoming the team, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peseta Noumea Simi, noted the government’s openness to observers for the elections.
She invited the team to move freely among the electoral booths noting the support also of the Acting Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio and his office.
Forum Secretary General, Meg Taylor thanked the Government of Samoa for inviting the Pacific Islands Forum to observe.
“I commend the Government of Samoa for their continuing support of the principles of good governance,” she said. “I am particularly impressed with the commitment to supporting equal participation of women in the national elections, including through the Temporary Special Measures mechanism.”
Team Leader Calvin Ziru said they are looking forward to tomorrow.
“There is much we can learn and share across our Pacific neighbours and we look forward to identifying good practices that we can consider in other parts of the Pacific but also identify areas where there might be some improvements needed,” he said.
The Forum Electoral Observer Team will be deployed in Apia and rural Upolu and will observe all aspects of the elections – the opening of polls, casting of votes, closing of polling, and the count.
A Forum team of electoral observers comprising of electoral supervisors from Tonga and the Cook Islands had recently observed the Vanuatu snap elections in January 2016.