Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs Ishmael Kalsakau. Photo: File | Kizzy Kalsakau

The Port Vila City Council (PVCC) and TORBA Provincial Council must go through a by-election, following the loss of their respective elected councilors.

Deputy Prime Minister and at the same time Minister responsible for PVCC and provincial government councils, Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau confirmed this to Daily Post yesterday morning.

“A council paper on this matter will be ready for the Council of Ministers Meeting next week," DPM Kalsakau affirmed.

His remarks came following the passing away of late PVCC councilor, Francois Diamalouze early this week, TORBA Provincial councilor Suitin Lilip who also died this week at his home in Ureparapara and and Vai Maki in January this year.

Late councilor Diamalouze had replaced former councilor Ulrich Sumptoh who resigned to contest the national Election in March 2020.

Another Port Vila City Councilor, Peter Yamack had voluntary resigned from his position in March this year and went to Australia.

The recent amendment to the Decentralization Act of 2019, section 18CA on Requirements for contesting an election to Parliament states; “4) Despite section 18D, if a seat becomes vacant under subsection (1), (2) or (3), the Electoral Commission is to declare the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes at the last election or by-election as the candidate to fill in the vacancy”.

During the last election, six councilors had resigned, according to the Act the runner-up candidates filled the vacated seats.

But there is no specific provision to cater for deaths or when a councilor resigns for reasons other than contesting an election, thus a by-election is necessary to fill in the vacant seat as stipulated in the Act.

For Port Vila, the by-election will cater for three candidates and in TORBA Province one candidate, a total of four new councilors to be elected.

A by-election is an election used to fill an office that has become vacant between General Election, Municipal or Provincial Elections. In most cases these elections occur after an incumbent officer dies or resigns.

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