Vanuatu minister calls for referendum voters in spite of Nouméa crisis

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Vanuatu's Elections Minister Johnny Koanapo
Vanuatu's Elections Minister Johnny Koanapo (left) . . . “We want to make sure that all Vanuatu citizens living in New Caledonia can exercise their rights ." Image: Vanuatu Daily Post

By Tensly Sumbe

Vanuatu’s Elections Minister Johnny Koanapo is urging every Ni-Vanuatu person living in New Caledonia to take part in the upcoming vote for the national referendum next Wednesday.

He highlighted that the current situation in New Caledonia presented exceptional circumstances that could impact on people’s participation on polling day — May 29 — but recent adopted amendments to the Referendum Act address any special circumstances that may arise.

The amendment to the referendum act states, “The Electoral Commission may, on the advice of the Principal Electoral Officer, extend the timing and date of voting in specified polling stations if the Electoral Commission is satisfied that there are special circumstances in those locations.”

Koanapo said the Vanuatu Electoral Commission would collaborate with the government of New Caledonia through the Vanuatu Consulate-General in Nouméa to ensure that Vanuatu citizens residing in New Caledonia can participate in the referendum.

“We want to make sure that all Vanuatu citizens living in New Caledonia can exercise their rights and participate in this national referendum,” he said.

Tensly Sumbe is a Vanuatu Daily Post reporter. Republished with permission.

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