Principal Electoral Officer (PEO) Joe Iati Johnson has confirmed there will be a By-election in the Efate Rural Constituency for the parliamentary seat left vacant by the sudden passing of North Efate Member of Parliament, Jerry Kanas last month.
This came about after consultations between the Electoral Commission and the Prime Minister.
Daily Post was informed the Electoral Commission has estimated a budget of approximately Vt14.2 million to cover the Efate Rural By-election.
Then there is Vt10.2 million earmarked for Luganville Municipal election in September and a further Vt12.2 million already budgeted for SANMA Provincial elections in December this year.
For the Vt14.2 million to cover Efate rural By-election, a policy paper to the Government is required to secure funding.
The Electoral office also confirmed that the number of eligible registered voters in the Efate Rural constituency stands at 32,537. The constituency has a total of 29 polling stations including the offshore islands.
The date for the poll will be confirmed by the end of this week. The Commission will also announce the date for candidature applications.
On the question of time constraints between the date and the arrangements for the Efate Rural By-election and the 2020 General Elections, the Electoral Office states that the People’s Representation Act (CAP 146) makes it mandatory for a By-election in the event of a vacated parliamentary seat.
The Efate Rural By-election will be a prime political test for parties gearing up and eyeing parliamentary seats for the 2020 national general elections, and also for the new political parties in the Efate Rural constituency.
The date for the 2020 national general elections is yet to be determined by the government.