Today, Tuesday February 13 is the closing date for candidature applications for those wanting to contest the Port Vila Municipal election on March 7, 2018.

All applications are required to be submitted to the Electoral Office by 5pm.

While the actual figure of the number of political candidates contesting in the March 7 Municipal election is yet to be made official by the Electoral Commission, the Electoral Office says it estimates some 200 candidates will be contesting the 17 seats in Port Vila Municipal Council out of which 5 seats in the 17 seats are reserved for women.

After the closing today, the Electoral Commission will begin the process of screening all applications to ensure all requirements are complied with, before announcing the names of the eligible candidates on February 23, 2018.

Political campaign will kick off on the same date (February 23, 2018) as soon as the official eligible names are announced over the local media.

Political campaign will end at midnight on March 4, giving two clear days before polling on March 7, 2018 that begins at 7.30am.

Registered voters that need to update their electoral voting cards or apply for proxy must call into the Electoral Office from now on until March 4, 2018 at 5pm for duplicate or proxy to be cleared.

“Because of the volume on applications coming in, the process of screening and finalizing the names of all candidates and their political affiliations will take the Electoral Commission up to 22nd February to have the list of eligible candidates ready to be announced on the 23rd February, 2018,” says Martin Tete, Chairman of the Electoral Commission.

He further clarified that voters in this municipal election will only cast one vote, not two as was the case in the 2014 Port Vila municipal elections, when voters had to cast two votes, one for the normal vote and the second for women reserve seat candidate.

“On March 7, voters will cast only one vote similar to the parliamentary election,” Martin Tete, explained.

The list of polling stations are; Anglican Church, Ex-FOL, Town Hall, Dumbea Hall, Chiefs Nakamal, Anabouru School, Vila North School and Fresh Water School.

As it stands, Anglican Church has 3,562 registered voters, Ex-FOL has 5,193 registered voters, Town Hall has 1,232 registered voters, Dumbea Hall has 2,839 registered voters, Chiefs Nakamal has 2,820 registered voters, Anabouru School has 6,065 registered voters, Vila North School has 5,500 registered voters and Fresh Water School has 3,982 registered voters bringing a total of 31,139 registered voters in the Port Vila Municipality as of yesterday.

Persons disqualified for election as municipal councilor include: the President of the Republic, Judges, members of parliament, members of the police force, members of the National Council of Chiefs, any member of district council of chiefs, island council of chiefs, and area council of chiefs, who holds the position of chairman, vice-chairman, secretary or treasurer, shall not be qualified for election as member of the municipal council ,members of the teaching service, members of local government councils.

The legal advisor or auditor of the council or the partner or employee of such advisor or auditor, a person who is in the service of the council, person who, being engaged in a profession, is disqualified or suspended from practicing such profession, a person who is in default of payment of any rates, charges or other debts due to the council for a period exceeding two months and after the same shall have become due, and a person having a contract with the council to provide municipal services.

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