By Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online
Representatives from the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission are among other Pacific island nations that are currently in Fiji for a conference, to discuss ways where authorised standards for reliable, fair and inclusive elections are encouraged throughout the region.
Other election officials attending the conference are from Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, New Zealand, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The three-day meet that began on May 9 will, among other agendas, look to discuss ways to boost women’s participation in electoral processes. Also having learnt lessons from past Commonwealth election observation missions, they will look to focus on implementing observers’ recommendations.
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Josephine Ojiambo, said “This regional meeting provides a forum to engage in peer exchanges, which will nurture attempts to find solutions for the most demanding electoral challenges facing countries today.
“Working hand in hand with election management bodies, and with national governments at their request, the Commonwealth Secretariat offers Pacific countries tools to achieve world class electoral standards.”
As senior electoral representatives seek to increase and promote electoral integrity, they will receive support from the Commonwealth Electoral Network, the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand Electoral Administrators (PIANZEA) Network, and the Fijian Elections Office.
Director of Political Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Simon Gimson, said, “Our Commonwealth goal is to raise the quality of elections, and we are doing that through our global network of national election management bodies. At this meeting, we are working in partnership with the Pacific’s own network – PIANZEA – and the Fijian Elections Office in particular to bring together senior representatives of electoral management bodies from across the region.”
Gimson further said that we can improve the integrity of elections by sharing Commonwealth and regional best practices and knowledge, and ensure that our parliaments reflect the people they represent.
As PNG approaches the next general elections, matters discussed at the conference will be valuable for improving electoral processes in the country.