More than 200,000 voters across Vanuatu have cast their ballots in a snap election that international observers have described as successful despite challenges in the lead-up to the polls. The country’s Parliament was dissolved in November by President Baldwin Lonsdale after 14 MPs, including a former prime minister, were jailed for bribery. The political breakdown in Port Vila followed a period of instability with four changes of prime ministers in the past four years. A total of 264 candidates are vying for 53 seats, with foreign election observers remaining in Vanuatu until Monday.
Hubert Ingraham is the former prime minister of the Bahamas and the chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group. He said Friday’s election “went fairly well” in the country of more than 80 remote islands. “It ran smoothly, yes. My team is out,” he told The World. “We will consider all of the factors that we observed and make some determinations.
“I interacted with some of the Australian delegations today also. I think that the extent to which there were evident shortcomings in the process would be reflected in final reports we make.”