Truong Sa islands ready for early voting

WEDNESDAY, 12/05/2021 17:35:29

Despite the spartan facilities, preparations for voting on the islands are basically completed.

Two young soldiers on Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands study candidates’ information published at the office of Song Tu Tay commune People's Committee. VNA/VNS Photo

Soldier Nguyen Phi Khanh, who is on duty on the Truong Sa (Spratly) islands, south-central Khanh Hoa province, is eagerly awaiting May's elections on Da Dong small island (Eastern Reef) to cast his ballot for the first time.

Khanh will be among the first to vote in Vietnam for the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils as those living and working on the islands of Truong Sa Township and the communes of Sinh Ton and Song Tu Tay will go to the polls on May 16, a week ahead of the official election day.

“I hope that my ballots will help select suitable deputies who pay attention to local livelihoods, especially those living on sea and islands,” Khanh told reporters.

Almost a week from election day, the islands in Truong Sa district have been decorated with banners and posters. Local residents and soldiers are able to study candidates’ information and voting rules at various public venues.

Despite the spartan facilities, preparations for voting on the islands are basically completed.

Communications campaigns have been broadcast on the radio so fishermen can also stay abreast of election matters. If they are fishing at sea on election day, they can vote on any island within Truong Sa island district.

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Nhu Tuyen, a political officer of Son Ca (Sand Cay) Island, said all maritime soldiers and officers performing duties on the island have been updated about election laws.

Le Dinh Hai, chairman of Truong Sa island district People’s Committee, said election preparatory work has been conducted like it is on the mainland. The law on the election has been disseminated to soldiers and local people through various forms of communication.

The election council of Truong Sa township has held three consultation conferences, prepared voters’ cards and published lists of candidates.

“Everything is ready for the big day,” he said.

Truong Sa township has eight smaller islands located far from each other. Many fishermen who work offshore cannot return in time to cast their ballots. The local election council has prepared standby voters’ cards for those fishermen in case they can return to vote.

On election day, boats carrying ballots will go to small islands to make sure every citizen can practise their rights.

According to Luu Hong Van, deputy head of communication and education division of the Khanh Hoa provincial Party Committee, fishermen from other areas who pass by the sea area of Khanh Hoa and cannot return home to vote can cast their ballots in Khanh Hoa province.

Huynh Duc Phong, living on Sinh Ton (Sin Cowe) Island, said the Party and the State have paid attention to families living on the sea like his. Investment in healthcare, education and entertainment on the island makes island residents like him no longer feel far from the mainland.

“I hope the elected deputies who are trusted by voters will take care of local livelihoods, especially those living in difficult circumstances,” he said.

Ho Sinh has been fishing off the Truong Sa islands for 45 years. He spends most of his time offshore but he said despite how busy he was, he would dock his boat to go ashore and vote.

Captain Do Xuan Toi, a political officer on Song Tu Tay (Southwest Cay) island, hoped the State would have practical solutions to realise the Vietnamese maritime economy’s sustainable development strategy by 2030, helping Truong Sa islands to become stronger and a solid fulcrum for fishermen to exploit, catch fish, protect the sovereignty of the country.

Given its special geographical location and working conditions, besides 20 electoral units on Truong Sa islands, many constituencies nationwide have been allowed to hold early voting so voters can exercise citizens’ rights and responsibilities.

According to Article 72 of the law on election of deputies to the National Assembly and People’s Councils, in special circumstances that call for the voting date to be delayed or early voting to be held, election committees will propose early voting to the National Election Council (NEC).

Basing on the proposals submitted by local election committees, the NEC has permitted some constituencies in 12 provincial-level localities, namely Hai Phong, Can Tho, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Dinh, Ca Mau, Dak Nong, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Quang Binh, and Nghe An, to conduct voting ahead of the scheduled date.



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