The Electoral Commission (EC) has consulted with the Minister of Internal Affairs on January 16 and recommended Wednesday, March 7 as 'Polling Day' for the Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC).
This comes as the 4-year term of the PVMC lapsed on Sunday, January 7, according to section 7 (1) of the Municipalities ACT ( CAP 126).
The Electoral office conveyed via a statement that it has notified all political parties and voters that the PVMC has 17 councilor seats and one reserve seat for women, for each five wards in the Port Vila Municipality.
"The Office advises everyone of the important changes:
1) Voters will only vote once and not twice like in the 2014 Municipal Election
2)First Past-the-post system will be used and no longer the Proportional System to determine the winning candidates
3)Change done due to Order No.of 2018 by the Electoral Commission with the approval of the Council of Ministers (COM)
4)Polling Stations in the areas of NTM, Beverly Hills and Andrew Kalpoelep will be closed during the Municipal election- Voters registered under these polling stations will not vote in the municipal election because the areas are out of the Municipal Boundary."
There is an estimation of 31,283 voters in the 2018 Municipal Elections that are expected to vote.
The Electoral Commission has approved the following dates and logistical arrangements towards the municipal election.
10 Tuesday, January 23-starting date for lodging of candidate application form and Proxy forms 2) Tuesday, February 6-closing date for candidature application at 5pm 3)Tuesday, February 20-Declaration of qualified candidates 4) Campaign begins 5)Friday, March 2-closing date for Proxy application at 5pm 6)Sunday, March 4-campaign closes at 12 midnight and 7)Wednesday, March 7- Polling day."
The EC has reiterated that voters within in the PVM wards that interested to contest in the upcoming election to visit the Electoral office at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and fill in a candidate application form.
"Application form costs Vt2,000 and candidate fee is Vt20,000 and these fees should be paid at the Government Cashier and not the at the Electoral Office."
"The receipt of the Vt20,000 should be attached to the complete form and dropped at the Electoral Office before 5pm on February 6."
The Electoral office and the Electoral Commission are advising all proposed candidates to not wait until the last minute to drop in their applications and candidates to observe the eligibility criteria in the Municipalities ACT (CAP 126) under section 8,Part 2 section 2 and 3 of the Municipal Council Election Regulation.
"All candidates should settle all outstanding with the Municipal Council to be able contest in the election. We will not allow for any payment arrangements to be settle before and after as it is not provided for by the Law."
The EC has also made aware that anyone with a prison sentence or suspended sentence given by the Courts cannot contest in the election.
"A candidate who wishes to contest should be a registered voter in the ward where he resides only."
The EC has encouraged all voters in the five wards with the Municipal boundary to exercise their rights and vote in the new PVM council.