Vanuatu Daily Post – By Godwin Ligo
At 3.45pm yesterday when the Daily Post called at the Electoral Office, male applicants, including two females, were queuing up filling their applications for the position of the new President for the Republic of Vanuatu, just 1 hour 15 minutes before closing time.
The staff assisting the applicants looked at the clock on the wall and remarked: ”We have one hour 15 minutes more to go, at closing time,” as five to seven more candidates push for time to get their applications before 5pm.
While the staff of the Electoral Office, were busy handling application documents, the Daily Post could not get any response of the actual figure of applicants or names at that point of time, in the afternoon.
According to a table of names that appeared to be that of the candidates that were posted on social media with the heading “Presidential Candidates for Screening List 2017”, it listed 37 names.
Whether or not this included the last minute applications yesterday afternoon, the Daily Post could not ascertain this, however, it was further confirmed to the Daily Post by the Electoral Office staff that the Electoral College will meet on Monday next week, July 3rd, 2017 to elect the new President for the Republic of Vanuatu.
The Daily Post understands that in accordance with the relevant laws governing the election of a President for the Republic of Vanuatu, names of all candidates must first be screened and endorsed by the Electoral Commission, then submitted to the Speaker of Parliament for the Electoral College, to meet and elect a new President for the Republic of Vanuatu.
In the meantime, candidates are already in the political corridors lobbying political parties, Members of Parliament (MPs) and Electoral College to support their candidatures.
It remains to be seen on Monday as to which candidate will emerge out of so many others to become the next President of the Republic of Vanuatu, after the position was left vacant by the late President Baldwin Lonsdale, who died while in office.
Meanwhile, a member of the Electoral College, Ralph Regenvanu, has written to the Chairman of the Electoral Commission and the Principal Electoral Officer for the provision of background information on all the candidates for the position of President to the members of the Electoral College by Friday (June 30), to give them sufficient time to consider the merits of the different applicants before they vote on Monday.
Regenvanu says in the last vote for the President in 2014, one of the factors that contributed to the Electoral College taking so long to elect a candidate was that there was no information on the candidates provided to Electoral College members.
He said without such background information, there is little chance of members of the Electoral College making an informed decision about which candidates to vote for.