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Wednesday 1 June 2016 | Published in Regional

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Nauru’s nomination fee hikes aimed at ‘deterring candidates’

NAURU – A group of 18 prospective candidates in Nauru’s upcoming general elections has lodged a challenge in the Supreme Court against recent changes to the country’s election laws.

The government hiked the nomination fee from what converts to US$143 to US$1436.

A senior opposition member who was suspended from parliament last year for taking part in a protest, Mathew Batsiua, says the government is doing everything possible in its power to tilt the election in its favour.

He says the fee hike is unconstitutional.

A lawyer and minority female candidate, Gabrissa Hartman, is a co-plaintiff in the legal action and stressed the significance of the challenge, saying it’s a necessary step to protect democracy in Nauru.

Another prospective candidate says a government fee hike for candidates has ruled him and many others out of contention.

Corey Menke, a former consul-general to Thailand, is a worker at the regional processing centre on Nauru and said he wanted to run in the election but can’t afford it.

He said it was yet another sign of government MPs using underhand tactics to hold on to power.

“Everyone actually knows that they are trying to cut down on candidates being nominated for the elections because they’ve done lots of policies, changes and amendments on the constitution which if they get out of office, then they’ll face criminal charges and everything.”

- RNZI