+ First election since RAMSI in Solomons
CID member, Peter Fa'afiu (Chair of Amnesty International and Pacific Media Network) is part of the New Zealand election observer team who has headed to the Solomon Islands to support an open and transparent process.
Polls open tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7 am.
There are a number of international observer teams
in the country now for this week's election, including from the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum.
The chairperson of the Commonwealth Observers Group and former Vanuatu prime minister Sato Kilman says he hopes the Solomon Islands election goes smoothly and that people benefit from the results.
New Zealand's High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Don Higgins said elections were very local in Solomon Islands.
"The statistic I hear and use sometimes is that 80 percent of the population still live in villages of fewer than a hundred people. And these are very remote locations, very remote villages so politics is intensely local in Solomon Islands."
Meanwhile, an electoral candidate and former government official, Henry Murray, was sent to jail for four years
last week for corruption.
Taiwan Strategy Research Association's Fabrizio Bozzato said the elections could mark the end of Taiwan's presence in Melanesia.
Caretaker Prime Minister, Rick Hou, has promised to review diplomatic ties with Taiwan if re-elected while downplaying fears this will mean a switch to China.
"Taiwan has been able to retain all its diplomatic allies in the Pacific while it was losing allies in Latin America, Africa, but the Pacific has been secure so far but the elections in the Solomons might change the game."
For an excellent analysis of what issues to look out for in this election, go to DevPolicy for Terrance Wood and Julien Barbara's blog.