The Electoral System

With the exception of persons certified insane or under a prison sentence of 12 months or more, all citizens of Kiribati who have attained the age of 18 years and have resided within an electoral district for a continuous period of 12 months are entitled to be registered as ‘electors’ or voters for elections.

Under Section 62 of the Constitution overall responsibility for supervising elections in Kiribati is vested in an Electoral Commission consisting of a Chief Electoral Commissioner and not less than two or more than four commissioners, appointed by the Beretitenti on the advice of the Cabinet. The Chief Justice is involved in the supervision of the election of the Beretitenti. Under section 63 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is also responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to the Maneaba ni Maungatabu for approval on the number and boundaries of electoral districts and the number of elected members in the Maneaba ni Maungatabu. Under Sections 4 of the Elections Ordinance, the carrying out of administrative arrangements and the conduct of elections is vested in the Chief Electoral Office, who is at present appointed by the Minister of Home Affairs. The Chief Electoral Officer in turn appoints electoral officers and assistant electoral officers for each electoral district. These officers assist in the registration of voters and the actual conduct of the elections. The main reason why the Ministry of Home Affairs deals with elections is administrative convenience.

The Chief Electoral Officer also holds the post of Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry and is able, therefore, to mobilise the required personnel, transport and equipment of the Department of Local Government, which also comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The island council clerks, who are appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer as electoral officers, also come under the Department of Local Government.