Solomon Islands set to vote on election delay despite opposition

by | Sep 8, 2022 | World

Proposed bill seeks to change the constitution to allow the next general election to be delayed from 2023 until 2024.The Solomon Islands parliament was expected to vote on a bill to delay the next general election despite the objections of opposition party members who have accused Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of a “power grab”.
Sogavare told parliament he wanted the legislation to be passed on Thursday because of the risk of protests.
The bill seeks to change the constitution to allow the country’s general election to be delayed from 2023 until 2024.
Sogavare has argued that the Solomons cannot successfully host both the Pacific Games and an election in 2023 because of logistical requirements.
He had previously argued that it would be too costly to hold the regional athletics meeting – for which China is building seven venues and stadiums – and a general election in the same year.
Opposition members have questioned Sogavare’s justification for seeking to postpone the vote.
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Opposition leader Matthew Wale said there was “never any need to choose between holding the elections and hosting the Pacific Games”.
Voters he consulted had rejected the proposed delay, said Wale, who described the rescheduling of the election as “a power grab by the prime minister”.
“I object to anything that undermines the mandate, the role, and the place of the people in decision-making affecting, especially, a matter as important as the life of parliament itself,” Wale told Al Jazeera.
“What is happening now that concerns me is that Prime Minister Sogavare is so pro-China and clearly anti-US and its allies, that concerns me a great deal. It’s not good for the future of this country,” Wale said.
The Solomon Islands has been at the centre of an intensifying geopolitical tug of war, with Australia, New Zealand and the United States fearing increased infl …

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