The appointing of an Electoral Commission of Inquiry is nothing new as it’s mandated under the Electoral Act that a national review is conducted of the electoral process after every General Election.
This is to determine issues that require improvement for future elections.
Led by former Public Service Commissioner Tuu’u Dr Ieti Taulealoa, the Commission members’ term of reference is to review the election process and make appropriate recommendations, said Minister of the Electoral Commission, Faualo Harry Schuster during an interview with Radio Polynesia.
“The whole electoral Act is up for review by this Commission of Inquiry.”
Faualo said the appointments were approved by Cabinet based on his nomination which was also a difficult process.
“The selection process was quite difficult as I wanted people who had no political affiliation or were former Members of Parliament and also to balance it with members of the community including clergy members, former public servants, lawyers and pillars of the private sector,” said the Minister.
Other members are Faamausili Dr Matagialofi Lua’iufi; Feesago Geogre Fepuleai; Letuiman’usina Dr Emma Kruse-Vaai; Peseta Arasi Tiotio; Reverend Tavita Roma; Erelini Vaiao Eteuati; Leulua’ialii Tasi Malifa; Tupuola Koki Tuala and Vaaelua Rimoni Vaaelua.
The Minister said the Commission panellist has already met with the management of the Office of the Electoral Commission and they will iron out issues that occurred in the past General Election to ensure it does not repeat in the future.
“Other aspects of the term of reference for the Commission of Inquiry is to review the current Electoral Act, among other things. “It’s a very wide review,” said the Minister.
One of the issues highlighted by the Minister is the timeframe that allows any changes to the electoral roll.
“Many people have passed on, people leaving the country and yet the electoral roll has not been updated and there are a lot of criteria under the law that needs to be met within a specific timeframe before any changes are made.
Also, the electoral roll needs to meet the current law that you should vote where you reside,” explained the Minister.
The Commission will be conducting public consultations after the lockdown as they need to hear the concerns and recommendations by the public before compiling their report.
The Minister said it is expected the Inquiry will take over a year given the circumstances of the State of Emergency Orders and lockdown, which surely will disrupt the work of the Commission.
He concluded by acknowledging the member’s patriotic spirit toward their Country and making time to do the work mandated for the Inquiry.