CARE Leader calls for peaceful and respectful elections, 6,780 polling officials for 2024 joint elections

Matthew Wale (Photo: PINA)

The Solomon Islands Leader of the Coalition for Accountability, Reform and Empowerment (CARE) Matthew Wale, who employed a character-assassination campaign approach in this year’s election campaign and sparked criticisms nationwide, is calling for a peace and respect to prevail throughout the electoral process. 

The former Leader of Opposition made this statement Sunday in light of the upcoming national & provincial joint elections

“Elections stand as the bedrock of our democracy – the time when Solomon Islanders exercise the power in their hands to choose leadersand have a say in the Governance of our Nation. 

“All Solomon Islanders must therefore respect the right of other Solomon Islanders and refrain from any actions that could disrupt the voting process,” Wale said. 

Wale added that, “Our democracy thrives when every citizen can freely express their choice without fear or intimidation.” 

The CARE leader also extended the call for peace and respect to endure throughout the counting process and the announcement of results. 

Wale stressed that all stakeholders must work together to preserve peace and uphold the sanctity of the elections. 

“All political parties, candidates, electoral officials, police, and citizens, regardless of differing views and roles, must stand firm and be united in our commitment towards a peaceful, free, and fair election process” Wale said.  

The leader of CARE concluded that peace and respect is everyone’s responsibility as the nation goes to the polls on 17 April 2024.  

Wale has branded other MPs of the 11th Parliament in the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement as ‘Judas, Satan and Lucifer’ and other defamatory labels.

6,780 polling officials for 2024 joint elections

A total of 6,780 polling officials have been recruited for the 17 April joint elections. 

This includes 5,530 polling officers, 500 constituency counting officials, 695 provincial ward counting teams, and 55 ward counting teams for the Honiara City Council elections. 

Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Christina Mitini said this was an increase from the previous estimated number of 6,240 officials due to the increase in number of polling stations. 

“There has been an increase in the number of polling stations to 1,106 so the number of polling officials has to be increased to cater for the additional number of polling stations in this year’s elections,” she said. 

Mitini also confirmed that the polling officials are now going through trainings ahead of the polling day on Wednesday. 

In 2019, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission recruited and trained a total of 3,500 polling officials to conduct the election activities. 

This year’s recruitment is a huge increase in recruitment as the country will be having the joint election which will see polling for National, Provincial Assembly and Honiara City. 

Despite the extra efforts in ensuring the smooth conduct of the elections, Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner, Jasper Highwood Anisi assures that they are full prepared to carry out the elections. 

“We are ready to roll out the elections. All election materials have reached the provincial centers and have been deployed to the various polling stations. We are confident that on 17 April 7am we will commence polling,” he said.