Vanuatu’s first referendum on June 4

VANUATU’S first ever referendum has been called for June 4.

The Chairman of the Task Force on the Constitutional Review, Ralph Regenvanu, said all eligible voters will be able to vote in the existing polling stations.

He said a question in relation to the reform will be asked.

Red-Green-Card“Those who agree with the question will indicate their answer by putting a green card in the ballot box and those who disagree will place a red card in the ballot box,” he said.

“We had to keep it as simple as possible.’’

He said budgets had been allocated for the national referendum and a national awareness campaign and it will cost VT 90 million.

“Yes, it’s expensive, but we have to go through this if we want to change MPs swapping sides and put an end to instability in government,’’ he said.

“This week the Government will start consultations with national bodies such as the Vanuatu National Council of Women (VNCW), Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC) and all the provincial centres prior to the final national consultation on Political Parties Bill which is scheduled to take place at the Chief’s Nakamal on February 22,” he said.

He said that based on the outcome of the final consultation, the bill and constitutional amendment will be taken before the parliament in March to be passed.

“Once it’s passed, we will organise the national mass awareness ahead of the referendum. The awareness will take place in April and May.”

This is part of the Government’s efforts to introduce laws for the purpose of reducing political instability and enhancing the integrity of Parliament and its members.

“It is part of our constitution since 1980 that it goes through parliament and then to the people, but if it is rejected at the referendum then the parliamentary vote is null and void,’’ he said.

He said the proposed political reform package consists of one new law, an amendment to the Constitution, and amendments to two existing laws.

The four proposed Bills are a new law, known as the Bill for the Political Parties (Regulation) Act, an amendment to the Constitution, The Constitution (Seventh)(Amendment) Act plus amendments to the Bill for the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act and the Bill for the Charitable Associations (Incorporation) (Amendment) Act.