Francis Billy Hilly. Photo credit: National Parliament of Solomon Islands.

Francis Billy Hilly. Photo credit: National Parliament of Solomon Islands.

A former Solomon Islands Parliamentarian and Prime Minister, Sir Francis Billy Hilly, has been appointed to head the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Observer Mission to Vanuatu’s Snap Elections scheduled for 22 January 2016.

The mission was established following a request from the Republic of Vanuatu Government to the Melanesian Spearhead Group Chair- Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare in December 2015.

A government statement said the observer mission membership will be drawn from the MSG member states including the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.

MSG Chair, Mr Sogavare said the idea of MSG deploying a mission to observe the elections of a member country is premised on one of its founding pillars – political stability.

Meanwhile, the statement adds the Observer Mission will be responsible for monitoring, assessing, and observing the conduct of the elections in accordance with international and regional standards for elections, taking into account Vanuatu’s Constitution and other relevant legal documents as well as other guidelines and terms of references provided by the Vanuatu authorities to guide the work of the international observers.

Vanuatu is the second MSG country to benefit from the MSG election observer mission assistance. The first was Fiji when it had its first democratic elections again in 2014 after some time of military rule.

Accepting his appointment to head the MSG Observer Mission to the Vanuatu Snap Elections, Sir Francis said he is honoured to serve his country Solomon Islands and the Melanesian region.

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