SIR FRANCIS HEADS MSG OBSERVER MISSION TO VANUATU’S SNAP ELECTIONS

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    A former Solomon Islands Parliamentarian and Prime Minister, Sir Francis Billy Hilly, has been appointed to head the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Observer Mission to Vanuatu’s Snap Elections scheduled for January 22, 2016.

    The mission was established following a request from the Republic of Vanuatu Government to the Melanesian Spearhead Group Chair- Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare in December 2015.

    The observer mission membership will be drawn from the MSG member states including the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.

    The MSG Chair, Hon Sogavare said the idea of MSG deploying a mission to observe the elections of a member country is premised on one of its founding pillars- political stability.

    “One of the founding principles of the MSG is to make the Melanesian bloc of the arc of stability in the Pacific through the promotion of good governance, political stability and political independence amongst its member states which in turn will contribute to ensuring peace and prosperity for its peoples.

    “It is on this premise that we the MSG members are encouraged to assist each other on issues related to the pillar of political stability, such as national elections.”

    The Observer Mission will be responsible for monitoring, assessing, and observing the conduct of the elections in accordance with international and regional standards for elections taking into account Vanuatu’s Constitution, and other relevant legal documents as well as other guidelines and terms of references provided by the Vanuatu authorities to guide the work of the international observers.

    Vanuatu is the second MSG country to benefit from the MSG election observer mission assistance. The first was Fiji when it had its first democratic elections again in 2014 after sometime of military rule.

    In accepting his appointment to head the MSG Observer Mission to the Vanuatu Snap Elections, Sir Francis said it is an honour for him to serve his country Solomon Islands and the Melanesian region.

    “I look forward to leading the MSG mission to observe the Vanuatu Snap elections. My team will arrive in Vanuatu a week prior to the elections and leave a week after the elections,” Sir Francis added.