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

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

Head of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Observer Mission to the Vanuatu snap elections, Sir Francis Billy Hilly has left for Vanuatu yesterday ahead of the polling date.

The snap election, necessitated by the conviction and imprisonment of 14 of Vanuatu’s Members of Parliament in October 2015, is scheduled for Friday next week.

A Government statement said Sir Francis will team up with the rest of the MSG observer mission which includes Ruben Kaiulo of Papua New Guinea, Ratu Epeli Nailitikau of Fiji and Philippe Ajapuhnya, Rodrigue Tiavouane and Ms Yvon Faua of the Kanak and Socialist Liberation Front of New Caledonia.

The Special Secretary to the MSG Chair, Rence Sore has also joined the MSG observer mission as a Support Member.

Meanwhile, the statement said the observer mission will work alongside other international election observers in monitoring, assessing, and observing the conduct of the elections.

This is in accordance with international and regional standards for elections, taking into account Vanuatu’s Constitution.

Other relevant legal documents, guidelines and terms of reference provided by the Vanuatu authorities will also guide the work of the international observers.

Sir Francis said he looks forward to fulfill his task and work with his team members as well as those of other multi-national election observer groups.

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