Update (25/07/10): my latest election update is available here.
It’s about time for an update on the upcoming election. There have been a few interesting developments including the CNURA coalition agreement, Fred Fono’s new political party and the announcement of two other new parties.
CNURA coalition agreement
Perhaps the most significant development is the announcement by the six coalition partners that form the CNURA government that they will form a coalition in an attempt to retain government after the election (see reports from Solomon Times and Radio Australia).
This move seems like an attempt to anticipate the enactment of the Political Parties Integrity Bills (see earlier post). However, the parties will still contest the elections separately so if those bills do not pass, my guess is that the coalition agreement may also fall by the wayside.
I’m pretty sure that the six parties in the coalition are: the Democratic Party, the Party for Rural Advancement (SIPRA), the Liberal Party, the Nasnol Pati, the Peoples Alliance Party (PAP) and the Association of Independent Members in Parliament (AIMP). I provided a little bit of info on each of these parties in an earlier post.
Fred Fono establishes new party
Shortly after the announcement of the CNURA coalition agreement, a key member of the CNURA government, Fred Fono, announced that he will launch a new party – the Solomon Islands People’s Congress Party – once Parliament dissolves. (See reports from Radio Australia and Solomon Times.)
Fono, who is currently Deputy PM and Minister for Rural Development and Indigenous Affairs, stated that ‘the focus of that party is to make reforms in the constituency development funding’. Specifically, his plan is to introduce legislation so that RCDF funds are administered by local constituency congresses, not MPs.
Fono has also indicated that, after the election, he will try to secure support for the PM’s position.
Two other new parties
Former long-serving MP, Danny Philip, has announced that he will launch the Reform and Democratic Party of Solomon Islands (RDP-SI) on Sunday.
Philip has already had a long political career. He served four terms for South New Georgia/Rendova from 1984 until 2001, putting him amongst the longest-serving MPs since independence. During his tenure in parliament, he held a number of senior positions including: Minister for Forests and Natural Resources (c.1998, Alebua government), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (c.1989-90, Mamaloni government), Deputy Prime Minister (c.1994-96, Mamaloni government) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (2000-01, Sogavare government).
He was still a formidable candidate in the 2006 election, where he ran a close second to Francis Zama (40% to 38%).
Finally, a church academic, Rev. Milton Talasasa has announced that he will launch the Rural Congress People’s Party in May in Vona Vona Lagoon. Presumably this means that he will be challenging the incumbent for West New Georgia/Vona Vona, Peter Boyers.