Vanuatu elections

Over 300 apply to contest Vanuatu elections

Director of the VEO, Johnson Iati, said the electoral commission is currently conducting background checks on every applicant to determine their eligibility to contest.

The electoral commission will screen every applicant as they must comply with the country’s law on elections.

Candidates have to be a minimum of 25 years old and cannot have an undischarged prison sentence or bankruptcy, or owe government and provinces any monies.

It takes a period of 20 days for the screening process between the closing and declaration of candidates.

Vanuatu govt has not met people's expectations - Koanapo

The country is preparing to go to the polls in March, four years after the Charlot Salwai-led coalition came to power in a snap election, promising expansive reforms to bring political stability.

But Johnny Koanapo, who was part of that coalition until his Vanua'aku Pati was reshuffled out of Cabinet last year, said while there had been stability, a lot of promises were not met.

"I mean, frankly speaking, the government did not achieve everything that we wanted to do.

'With Commonwealth help we will see Vanuatu’s democracy become stronger'

This is a country with a population of 265,000 spread across more than 60 islands, some of which are a thousand kilometres apart.

The Vanuatu Electoral Office, which has a permanent staff of just seven, is today preparing for provincial polls next month. What makes this year's election different is that the commission has been aided by Michael Clancy, an electoral expert deployed by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth observer report on Vanuatu’s election released

The findings were revealed in a final report by the Group, who observed the pre-election preparations, voting and counting procedures.  The report has been sent to the Government, the Electoral Commission, the Speaker of Parliament and the Leader of the Opposition.