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Thursday, May 04, 2006

It will be either Sogavare or Fono: a matter of politics

Good morning folks,

As I am posting this article, once again for the second time, our elected MPs are getting ready to make their way to the National Parliament to elect a new Prime Minister for Solomon Islands after the resignation of PM elect Honourable Snyder Rini last week.

Since the resignation of Rini, there have been celebrations and rumours circulating around Honiara and throughout the provinces. After the close of nominations on Saturday last week, the Opposition have forwarded Hon Manasseh Sogavare as their frontman for the PM's post whilst Hon Fred Fono was nominated as the care-taker government's choice for PM candidacy.

At 9.30am (SI time) today, members of Parliament will elect a new Prime Minister through secret ballot under the guiding authority of the Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena. The official results of the PM is expected to be announced before lunch.

Overseas media reported yesterday that a group of Opposition supporters from one of the squatter settelments in Honiara have issued a warning that if Sogavare looses the race for PM, there will be another riot regardless of the obvious presence of RAMSI soldiers and police.

On the numbers game, both rival camps have claimed to possess the majority that is required to win the Prime Minister's post. The Opposition have said that they have the support of 25 MPs despite two of their members, Charles Dausabea and Nelson Ne'e, being remanded in police custody. Fono on the other hand seemed confident of his chances stating that he does not care much about the numbers game, but the decision will be made through the ballot papers in Parliament today. He also claimed that three MPs in the Opposition camp have pledged their support for him. In addition, he has stated that the two remanded MPs in custody who were members of the Opposition camp have also written a letter assuring him that they will support him. It is a matter of politics and the game of crossing one camp to another was witnessed last week; who knows it might happen again today.

With regards to diplomatic ties, the Opposition candidate has stated publicly that he now has some reservations about RAMSI and he would also consider severing ties with Taiwan, which means a possible switch of allegance to mainland China. The care-taker government's candidate expressed publicly through the media that he wants RAMSI to stay and the close relationship between Taiwan and Solomon Islands will remain. He also stated that he is committed to address the bonafide demands of the Guadalcanal people and ensure that reconciliation processes are done within the first 100 days in office.

Whether there will be another riot after today's PM election is something that we cannot predict. But words from the Police Commissioner and RAMSI heads assured that there is a security strategy being planned for today's event, which means that there is little chance of disturbances.

From what we can see, the two candidates for the PM's post do not share common beliefs or interests at all. Therefore, if either of them is elected today the implications on the country will be different, but we just pray that God will help our MPs to put the right person on that "captains seat", so that he can chart a prosperous future for all of us.



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