A total of 31, 139 registered voters were expected to cast their votes yesterday to elect the new Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) for the next four years, but unofficial results indicated a poor turnout.
According to unofficial results, the candidate topping the number of votes in the Central Ward is Vae Maki of the Reunification of Movement for Change (RMC) with 185 votes, followed by Albert Daniel Mambo of Vanua’aku Pati (VP), securing 182 votes and the Reserve Seat was awarded to VP’s Toumelu Pascalyne Cakau with 117 votes.
These unofficial results do not include the result of the Municipal Town Hall polling station.
Unofficial results for Malapoa/Tagabe Ward has Peter Yamak of United Movement for Vanuatu People (UMVP) leading with a total of 275 votes, Independent candidate, Joel Langlois, runner up with 259 votes and Rose Peter of Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) securing the Reserve Seat.
Former Lord Mayor, Ulrich Sumptoh (RMC) is topping the tally for Anambrou/Melcofe Ward with 521 votes, John William of (VP) with 223 votes and Reserved Seat goes to Sebeorah Tapau of Leaders Party Vanuatu (LPV) with 72 votes.
In the Southern ward, according to unofficial results, Eric Festa of the Vanuatu Green Confederation (VGC) is leading with 197 votes, followed by Anthony Harry of United Moderate Partry (UMP) with 190 votes while the Reserve Seat goes to Jenny Tasale of (GJP).
Daily Post made attempts to get the unofficial results of Freshwota and Tassiriki Ward but could not prior going to press.
103 candidates have vied for the 17 seats in the PVMC, out of which five are Reserve Seats for women. Void votes was a major issue faced during the counting of votes.
Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Martin Tete has explained that a lot of voters have failed to update their residence status with the Electoral Office when they moved to another area.
Tete made the statement in response to one of the common irregularities that occurred in almost all the polling stations.
At the Anglican Church polling station yesterday morning, two busload of voters had to be sent back home because they were not eligible to cast their votes at the polling station. They conveyed to Daily Post that they have in possession their red electoral cards and reside at Prima, Bladinere and Manples but claimed they were deprived of their constitutional rights to vote.
Daily Post understands that some voters were advised to go back to the Electoral Office as there were errors or duplication of cards that resulted in low number of voters.
Anamburou Polling station has a total of 6,065 registered voters but only 1,800 voters voted.
Similar incidents were also reported at other polling stations that Daily Post visited, where some residents of Teouma and Etas voted yesterday.
Concerns also surround the fact that some residents of areas considered rural in accordance to the Municipal Act were able to vote while some of them could not.
When Chairman Tete was approached to clarify the issue, he explained that the People Representation Act states that citizens must register according to the areas where they reside. “Now when it comes to the Municipal Act, there are specific provisions which clearly state the boundaries of Port Vila Municipal.
“A person who is eligible to vote must be residing in that particular ward for the past three months, prior to election day.”
He argued that most people who already moved out from their previous wards but who voted yesterday were dishonest. He said it is the voter’s duty and responsibility to update his or her residence status.
More PVMC Election photos on page 8.