by Allanah Leahy – EM TV International, Port Moresby
10 of Vanuatu’s 14 jailed MPs have submitted applications to run in this month’s snap election.
14 MPs were jailed late last year, causing a deadlock in parliament and prompting the snap elections, costing the nation almost K2 million.
Four other convicted MPs, including former Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, have requested for their relatives or former secretaries to stand on their behalf.
The members of parliament allegedly accepted bribes from Carcasses to support him in a vote of no confidence in the then-government.
Vanuatu’s electoral office advisor, Martin Tete, said many of the applications have already been rejected, as candidates serving prison terms are ineligible to run for election.
“The electoral office has received 10 applications and we have received [a] note from the police with the decision of the court recently, and we have removed all the applications from those we have received so far,” Tete told Radio NZ International.
200,000 Vanuatuans will vote for 52 members of parliament for the next four years in two weeks.
“Landowners have to now raise the funds to pay for the shares on terms they agreed with the national government under the UBSA. The government will honor its commitment and also ensure that landowners’ interests are protected.
“The last thing we want to see is unknown and half-baked finance companies running around offering all sorts of deals to landowners. We have enough history of landowners being robbed of what is rightfully theirs,” the Prime Minister said.