Vila Times

The election petition against the five elected Port Vila MPs dismissed

The election petition against the five elected Port Vila MPs dismissed
The election petition against the five elected Port Vila MPs dismissed
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The Supreme Court dismissed today morning the election petition made by Stephen Felix against the Principal Electoral Officer and the five elected candidates of Port Vila Constituency.
Stephen Felix who is petitioner in Case No. 20/824 SC/EP alleged that the first respondent, Principal Electoral Officer had breached the rules in schedule 5 of the Representation of the People Act (CAP.146) (the Act) by –
(i) Allowing persons to vote without their names on the register.
(ii) Allowing persons to vote even when they did not reside in Port Vila Constituency
(iii) Allowing persons to vote using cards belonging to person whose names were not registered on the roll for their respective polling stations.
Stephen Felix who was Leaders Party Vanuatu’s candidate in the last general elections in Port Vila Constituency also alleged that the first respondent had breached section 31 (2) of the Act by allowing 1,978 more votes that there appeared on the electoral list which were 20,399, and that the first respondent breached section 20 (1) and (2) of the Act by not establishing and electoral list for each polling station. The petitioner claimed that as a result of these breaches there were 1,323 votes not accounted for.
As against the fifth respondent, Kenneth Natapei, the petitioner alleged an agent collected over 100 electoral cards on 18 March 2020 who he alleges were not registered to vote.
As against the sixth respondent, Ulrich Sumtoh, the petitioner alleged he was not eligible to stand for candidature because he had outstanding debts with the Port Vila Municipality which he failed to disclose to the Electoral Office.
The respondents denied all allegations. Out of the six respondents (Principal Electoral Officer (1), Ralph Regenvanu (2), Ishmael Kalsakau (3), Anthony Harry (4), Kenneth Natapei (5), Ulrich Sumptoh (6)), the first, fifth and sixth respondents filed applications seeking orders that the petition be struck out on the basis that there was insufficient evidence or at all by the petitioner to show who the 1,978 or 1,323 voters he alleges were unaccounted for were his supporters or could have voted for him. And with respect to the sixth respondent, there was no evidence his debt was outstanding.
This election petition was dismissed this morning by Justice Oliver Saksak.