By Cindy Trinh
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
NAURU, Yaren – The people of Nauru voted against the proposed amendments to the country’s constitution. The proposed changes was called the Constitution of Nauru Referendum Amendments Bill.
The Constitution of Nauru was written before its independence in 1968. In the last 6 years, the Nauru government began the process of constitutional reform.
The process included years of discussion and negotiation. Supporters of reform hoped that it would end the “volatile nature of Nauru politics.”
Advocates for the proposed changes to the Constitution state that the changes were designed to improve the “transparency and accountability of public institutions, and to make the Constitution more relevant to the Nauruan people.”
The Bill sought to strengthen human rights, change the way the President was elected, and clarify the roles of the President and Cabinet to provide stronger mechanisms for ensuring stability and continuity of the government.
In the referendum on Saturday, February 27, 2010, Nauruans were asked to vote for or against the constitutional amendments, including giving themselves the power to vote for the country’s President, removing it from the members of Parliament.
But 2/3 of the votes were opposed to the changes, and the referendum will not be adopted.
The government says nearly 3,000 votes out of the approximate 4,400 casted in the referendum opposed the 34 proposed changes.
As in a general election, polling booths were stationed in all 14 districts around the island.
For more information, please see:
Asia Pacific News – Changes to Nauru’s constitution rejected at referendum – 28 February 2010
Australia Network News – Changes to Nauru’s constitution rejected at referendum – 28 February 2010
Radio New Zealand International – Nauruans vote against proposed Constitutional amendments – 28 February 2010