logo

Elections have been deferred in the Solomon Islands by seven months after a bill to amend its Constitution was passed in its parliament.

The bill was put forward by prime minister Manasseh Sogavare on the grounds that the nation could not afford to hold the elections and the Pacific Games in the same year.

It was a lengthy debate that took place before the bill was passed late in the evening with 37 of the 49 members of parliament supporting the amendment. It took three readings of the bill to get it passed.

Prime minister Manasseh Sogavare said the bill was an important legislation and its occasion is the need for Solomon Islands to proudly host the Pacific Games 2023 and carry out its electoral reforms.

“It must be made clear to the people of Solomon Islands that this Constitution Amendment Bill is a sunset amendment, which means the bill is effective for a limited period of time,” he told parliament.

Elections have been deferred in the Solomon Islands by seven months after a bill to amend its Constitution was passed in its parliament. The bill was put forward by prime minister Manasseh Sogavare on the grounds that the nation could not afford to hold the elections and the Pacific Games in the same year. Picture: SPC

The bill will cease to be in effect from January 1, 2024 following the dissolution of parliament. It is believed that the Solomon Islands will now reply formally to Australia’s offer to fund its election.

The offer was dubbed an assault on Solomon Islands parliamentary democracy. Mr Sogavare said the timing of the offer was designed to influence voting.

The Solomon Islands have not turned down the offer and it could be accepted now that the election has been deferred.

In clarifying the amendment to Solomon Islanders, Mr Sogovare it was not an attack on the nation’s democracy nor does it intrude on the fundamental rights of the people to vote.

He said the constitutional amendment bill will not prohibit people from voting nor will it curtail any fundamental rights, freedoms or privileges.

Inside the parliament of the Solomon Islands. Elections have been deferred in the Solomon Islands by seven months after a bill to amend its Constitution was passed in its parliament. Picture: National Parliament of Solomon Islands

“I would agree that if the Bill contains provisions to allow the DCGA to be in power for eternity, then yes, that would be a direct attack on the right of individual Solomon Islanders to elect their representatives in this august house. But that is not what the Bill is attempting to do Mr. Speaker,” Mr Sogavare said.

“This Bill will provide certainty and confidence to the majority of our people, private sector, development partners and all relevant stakeholders in accordance with our overarching policy objectives to protect our citizens, support economic recovery and facilitate transformational change.

“It is not only about the financial cost but also the necessary preparation, logistical requirements which include both domestic and international air, land and sea services that are still not keeping up with current demand. Also the manpower resources needed to ensure that these two events can be completed successfully.”

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

Send this to a friend