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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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No Female Candidates Elected In Vanuatu Provincial Polls
Women said to have better chances in council elections

By Kathie Simon

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 19, 2013) – As if the 2012 General Elections in Vanuatu did not sufficiently amplify the statement, the provincial elections in Tafea, Shefa, Malampa and Penama again failed to elect any female candidate as per unofficial results.

Vanua’aku Pati (VP) which fielded the highest number of female candidates in the 12 February Provincial Elections could not secure a seat for the women candidates.

"VP fielded five women candidates, and apart from candidate Monique Ben who beat all the men folk to grab 115 votes, which is the highest by a candidate in the polling station (Onesua Polling station), none of the women candidates won a seat in the recent provincial election," confirmed Avio Roberts, VP’s Program & Information Officer.

Mr. Roberts said another female candidate who fared well in the provincial elections-VP’s Ambrym candidate, Lala Lan - lost out on securing a seat in the Malampa Provincial council with 100 plus votes as per unofficial results of the provincial election.

Meriam Takau who contested the Vanuatu Democratic Party (VDP) in the Efate constituency polled a handsome 197 votes between Erakor and Enam polling stations, however, still not sufficient to win a seat in the next Shefa Provincial Council.

Another prominent woman candidate who contested the provincial election in Epi constituency, Frida Varasmaite produced healthy polling figures also bowed out of the race as per the unofficial results.

Asked if there is a greater chance for women leaders to be elected into provincial councils, Mr. Roberts agree the unofficial results proved the point.

"The results of the provincial elections proved that most of the women candidates that stood in the recent provincial elections have greater chances of getting elected to provincial councils," he said.

"We all must understand that the votes the women candidates are getting are from both genders, which goes to show that women candidates are commanding more confidence from political parties and to be selected through the party structures ahead of the men folk to contest.

"And if anything, contesting an election on a level playing field with the folks is the best way forward in mainstreaming gender equity in politics and decision making, as compared to the argument of reserved women seats."

Official results of the provincial elections are expected to be out soon.

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