UN agency to begin training electoral observers ahead of Solomon Islands polls

30 July 2010Officials from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will this weekend begin training and briefing more than 60 international observers who have arrived in the Solomon Islands to monitor parliamentary elections being staged next week. Officials from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will this weekend begin training and briefing more than 60 international observers who have arrived in the Solomon Islands to monitor parliamentary elections being staged next week.A team from UNDP and other development partners will give deployment plans, pre- and post-election briefings, and administrative, logistical and operational support to the observers, according to a statement issued by the agency yesterday in Honiara, the national capital.The observers, working in pairs, are expected to monitor conduct at more than 180 of the nearly 900 polling stations being set up across the Pacific archipelago for next Wednesday’s ballot.UNDP has been coordinating the election observer programme after a request from the Solomon Islands Government and electoral authorities in the country.In its statement the agency stressed the importance of free and fair elections, saying such polls are the “basis for healthy democracy, and vital to ensure political stability and a climate fostering sustainable human development.”Solomon Islands, which has been independent since 1978, has a 50-member national parliament whose members are elected to four-year terms. The last polls were held in 2006.

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