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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Election Aftermath: By Joe Inomae (JoeBlog)

Hi! Folks, the elections for the MPs are over. But the big one remains, the new MPs are now gearing up to choose Solomon Islands' new Prime Minister.

As Tuesday April 18 draws near the various political camps are hoping that someone deflects from the other group to join them.

On friday (14/04/06) a member of a new political grouping Charles Dausabea accused local businessman, Bobo Detke of getting several new MPs from his camp to support his candidate for prime minister. Mr Dausabea and his group had nominated the M-P for north New Georgia, Job Duddley Tausinga to contest the election of Prime Minister next Tuesday. But a spokesman for Mr Detke denies the allegations by Mr Dausabea, describing it as mere jealousy. The spokesman says the political camp at the Pacific Casino in Honiara is open, and politicians are free to walk in and out as and when they liked.

It's well-known that the Republic of China on Taiwan is among the most closest of Solomon Islands friends. The Taiwanese are making their present felt in Honiara. Since the arrival on thursday (13/04/06) of two Taiwanese warships in Honiara, Taiwanese servicemen could be seen on the streets of Honiara.

I was among two reporters who accompanied Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs and Honiara City officials and representatives of the Chinese Association who went on board the Taiwanese Squadron flagship "Wu-Yi" on a brief welcome visit. The Solomon Islands group was met by Squadron Commander Rear Admiral Jiang, Long-an and several of his senior officers.The Taiwanese Ambassador in Honiara Antonio Chen later accompanied Commander Jiang and senior officers to make courtesy calls on the Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena and Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza.

Of course critics would say why turn up just when the Prime Ministership is being decided? They certainly think the Taiwanese are just interested in buying the politicians of the Solomon Islands to secure their votes in the United Nations. Whatever the motives are both the Governor General and Prime Minister have re-affirmed Solomon Islands friendship with Taiwan. The Taiwanese Naval Squadron left Honiara on Saturday (15/04/06).

Election Observers - Commonwealth Observer Group
The former Papua New Guinea Chief Justice, Sir Arnold Amet was the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group. Before his group left Solomon Islands on Wednesday he made a statement on the groups observation on the 2006 General Elections in Solomon Islands. The group in its report made several recommendations and suggestions which they believe will make improvements for electoral processes in the future.

Among them are:
** that the voters' register and the entire registration process need an immediate overhaul.
** that there should be an urgent review of the status of the Electoral Commission to ensure it is completely independent with adequate resources and permanent staff. This would allow the Commission to undertake these activities without delay.
** There is also a need for a comprehensive review of electoral legislation, particularly with regards to provisions, or lack thereof, for absentee voting
** Registration provisions should take into account the geographic, logistic and socio-economic realities of the country.
** Due consideration should be given to formalising and strengthening the political party system to promote political stability in the country. This would also promote accountability of the elected members to their respective constituencies.
** The Commonwealth Observation Group said it was disappointed that none of the 26 females candidates won their seats. It suggested that more should be done to facilitate the participation of women at the highest levels of decision-making in the country.
** The Group has heard many concerns from the people of Solomon Islands regarding the election of the Prime Minister and how this process should be held in a transparent manner. It recommends that provisions are included future electoral law reform to ensure that this process is conducted in an open and credible manner. It says such reforms would enhance the credibility of the whole electoral environment. The commonwealth could assist in this process together with other donor organisations in the country.

The Chairman of the group will submit the report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General (SG). The SG will in turn forward it to the Government of Solomon Islands, the Electoral Commission, the leaders of all political parties and then to all Commonwealth governments. The report will then be made publicly available, in Solomon Islands and throughout the Commonwealth.

News Source: Edited version from Joe Inomae (


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