Solomon Islanders Go to Polls

Solomon Islanders  Go to PollsSolomon Islanders  Go to Polls

The Solomon Islands went to the polls on Wednesday in the first election since an Australian-led peacekeeping intervention ended in 2013, with officials hoping biometric voter registration will end endemic voter fraud in the South Pacific island nation.

The Solomons has been racked by instability since 1998, culminating in widespread ethnic violence and the deployment of a peacekeeping force in 2003. The peacekeeping intervention lasted a decade before being scaled back to a policing mission, according to Reuters.

The election will be the first under joint Solomons and international security with 1,000 police deployed at polling booths, often in remote islands that witnessed some of the fiercest fighting between Japanese and Allied forces during World War Two.

Some voters will take days to reach polling stations by boat or on foot. Voting is expected to take three days to complete.

More than 280,000 voters are registered for the election after an audit removed 160,000 fraudulent registrations.

Hundreds of candidates and 12 parties will contest 50 seats in the Solomon Islands parliament, where shifting party allegiances often result in political instability.

Gordon Darcy Lilo was appointed prime minister in 2011 after his predecessor resigned over allegations he had misappropriated a $10 million development fund provided by Taiwan.