Solomon Islands polls open with tight security

16:55, August 04, 2010      

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Polling booths have opened in the Solomon Islands amid high security for the country's national elections on Wednesday.

Nearly 600,000 voters will elect members for the 50 seats in parliament from a record number of 508 candidates.

Tight security is in place to help ensure there is no repeat of the election violence and riots in 2006.

The country's police are out in force and on high alert hoping to avoid the kind of violence that has marred previous polls following unpopular results.

Elections are a tumultuous time for the Solomons, a country still reeling from more than a decade of ethnic tensions that in 2003 led to the deployment of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), an Australian-led peacekeeping force.

The Commander of RAMSI's Participating Police Force, Wayne Buchhorn, said in a statement they were helping the election process where they could.

"RAMSI police and military contingents are currently working closely with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

"Supporting the RSIPF in ensuring effective safety and security measures are in place for this election is our highest priority," he said.

Vote counting is expected to start on Thursday and be finished by Aug. 8.

Source: Xinhua


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