Vanuatu referendum: Citizens vote for constitution changes

Vanuatu citizens are voting in a national referendum today on constitutional amendments aimed at curbing political instability in the country.

The chairman of the electoral commission Edward Kaltamat said in-country polling officially opened at 7.30am Wednesday and will close at 4.30pm.

He said wet weather delayed the start of polling in parts of the country, but they will stay open longer to compensate.

Kaltamat said there are more than 200 thousand registered voters including those overseas.

It is a public holiday in Vanuatu for the single day vote but Kaltamat said they are conscious overseas voters working and studying will need time to vote and so they will have until Sunday 2 June to do so.

Counting will start on Monday 3 June.

In the referendum, voters are being asked to vote yes or no to the addition of two articles to the country’s constitution.

Article 17A says any MP who resigns or is terminated for ceasing to support a political party will have their seat automatically vacated.

And article 17B says all MPs must be affiliated to a political party and there can be no single MP party in parliament.

The articles have already been passed by parliament and the referendum result will dictate whether they come into effect or are rescinded.

Earlier this month, former prime minister and opposition leader Ishmael Kalsakau told RNZ Pacific the government should delay the referendum to give time for public consultation.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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