The life of the 11th legislature is expected to end on January 2020.
That is four years after the current members of parliament were elected on January 22, 2016.
If this is interpreted according to Article 28 (1) of the Constitution (Life of Parliament), the life of the 11th legislature will end exactly three months from today on January 22.
Last week the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Office announced the date for the 2020 general election. It is March 19, 2020.
Under Article 28 (4) of the Constitution, the election has to be held not earlier than 30 days or not later than 60 days after dissolution of parliament.
Based on the above dates and provision of the Constitution, the national election will be held 57 days after the life of the current legislature ends.
While 18 constituencies will be going to polls in five months’ time, the constituencies that would be interesting to follow their progress are Port Vila and Efate because one will be gaining one seat and the other, one seat less in parliament.
Ironically, while these two constituencies have the highest registered voters, they had the lowest voter turnout in the 2016 general election compared to the other constituencies.
Efate had 30,479 registered voters but only 13,191 voters turned up to cast their votes.
In Port Vila, there are 37,315 registered voters but only 15,492 voters turned up.
Change is happening in both constituencies in the coming national election because Efate will be having an extra seat added to the existing four seats to increase to five and Port Vila will be losing one seat from six down to five.
Basically, it will be a scramble in both constituencies, where in Port Vila, current members of parliament will try their best to retain their seats, but one will have to lose out and in Efate constituency it is an extra seat where voters in areas that have been without an MP elected in their area will make everything possible to ensure the bonus seat is not taken up by another dominant candidate in the southern part of the constituency.
While the Electoral Commission has announced the polling date for 2020, it has also set out important dates leading up to general election.
The election process will begin on January 21, 2020 which is the starting date for lodging of The Candidature Application Forms.
The Lodging of Candidature Application Forms closing date is February 11.
The Qualified Candidates for Parliament General Election will be announced on March 2 March 2020.
Political Campaigns commence on March 2, 2020 and will close at 12 midnight on March 16.