Election date: (NOT) 29 July

Update (26/05/2010): the Solomon Star reports that PM Sikua told a group of university students in PNG that the election will be held on Wednesday, 4 August. In so doing, I suspect he has accidentally pre-empted the Governor General, who would ordinarily announce the date. Clearly my previous post (below) was incorrect but I’m pretty sure this is because the government changed its mind sometime in the last few weeks.

Original post: The 8th national election in Solomon Islands since independence will be held on Thursday 29 July, according to a report by Alfred Sasako in Monday’s Solomon Star and also according to separate, well-placed gossip gathered by yours truly in Port Moresby. (Dammit, if Sasako hadn’t got there first, I could’ve had my first scoop!)

In an earlier post, I explained that that the election had to be held before the 24th of August because section 74 of the Constitution requires that an election be held within four months of parliament’s dissolution (which occurred last Friday, the 24th of April). The exact date is determined by the Governor General and I assume that convention dictates that the Governor General makes his/her decision based on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Sasako also reports that the Government’s brains trust had also considered the following dates:

  • Monday 12 July
  • Saturday 17 July
  • Thursday 5 August

The unusual mix of different days of the week got me wondering – what days of the week have past elections been held on? It turns out that all previous elections have been held on a Wednesday (six times) or Tuesday (twice). So there you have it – the first “first” for this election is that it will be the first election  to be held on a Thursday. How about that?!

Previous election dates for the Solomon Islands parliament:

  • 22 June 1976: Tuesday
  • 6 August 1980: Wednesday
  • 24 October 1984: Wednesday
  • 28 February 1989: Tuesday
  • 26 May 1993: Wednesday
  • 6 August 1997: Wednesday
  • 5 December 2001: Wednesday
  • 5 April 2006: Wednesday

Footnote: I just noticed that the Solomon Times has stated in a report today that “it seems likely that people will go to the polls in late June. It is expected that a new government should be formed and sworn in before July 7, the country’s Independence Day”. No offence, but I reckon they’re wrong.

Update (15/05/2010): when I originally posted, I didn’t know the date for the 1980 election. I have since found it and updated accordingly.


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