With the news today that the election will be held on Wednesday, 4 August, this seems a good time to update my tally of political parties. I am aware of 11 new parties, with a couple more in the wings and the possibility that up to six existing parties may also re-contest.
- The Direct Development Party was launched by Dick Ha’amori (who was, until his recent dismissal, the Director of SICHE). The party, which counts veteran journalist and former MP and Minister Alfred Sasako in its ranks, has since announced its plans to turn SICHE into a university but has also been criticised by Tony Makabo (NPF CEO and General Manager) for failing to understand that workers in the informal sector are already entitled to make voluntary contributions to NPF.
- The New Nations Solomon Islands Party was launched by Belani Tekulu (a businessman and one-time head of the Solomon Islands Indigenous Business Association). According to the OneTV report, its priorities included law and order, anti-corruption, infrastructure, land, education and health.
New parties (11)
- the Direct Development Party, founded by former SICHE Director, Dick Ha’amori
- the New Nations Solomon Islands Party, founded by businessman Belani Tekulu
- the Solomon Islands People’s Congress Party, founded by current Deputy PM, Fred Fono.
- the Reform and Democratic Party of Solomon Islands (RDP-SI), founded by former politician Danny Phillip
- the Rural Congress People’s Party, established by Rev. Milton Talasasa
- The Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) party, co-founded by former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and 7-8 other MPs from the Grand Coalition for Change Government (GCCG).
- the People’s Federation Party, founded by former foreign affairs officer Rudolf Henry Dorah (Chair, Clay Forau Soalaoi, MP for Temotu Vatud)
- The Autonomous Solomon Islanders Party (ASIP), co-founded by former politicians Jackson Sunaone (member for West Makira, 2000-01) and Denis Lulei (member for West Isabel, 1980-89 and for Maringe-Kokota, 1993-97).
- The Peace, Oneness and Prosperity party, founded by Delmah Nori, unsuccessful candidate for Central Honiara in 2006
- The Solomon Islands United Nationalist Party (SUN) party, founded by colourful character and former secretary of Manasseh Sogavare’s SoCred party, Sri Ramon Quitales
- The People’s Power Action Party, founded by Robert Wales Feratelia, former Honiara Lord Mayor and unsuccessfully candidate for East Honiara in 2006 election
Existing parties (6)
There are seven parties listed on the Parliament web site. One of those, the SoCred party, obviously won’t contest this election since its former leader, Manasseh Sogavare is now heading up OUR party. Several other parties have been weakened by:
- the loss of MPs to OUR party
- the announcement by Fred Fono (a senior PAP member) that he will establish his own party, and
- the announcement by Gordon Darcy Lilo (who co-founded the Party for Rural Advancement) that he will do do the same (see further discussion below).
In any event, here are the six parties that may re-contest:
- People’s Alliance Party (PAP, est. 1979)
(prominent members: Allan Kemakeza)
- Association of Independent Members (AIM, est. c.2001)
(prominent members: Snyder Rini, Tommy Chan)
- Liberal Party (est. 1988)
(prominent members: late Bart Ulufa’alu, Japhet Waipora, Milner Tozaka)
- Democratic Party (est. 2006)
(prominent members: Matthew Wale, Steve Abana)
- Nasnol Pati (est. c.1997)
(prominent members: Francis Billy Hilly)
- Party for Rural Advancement (est. 2006)
(prominent members: Job Dudley Tausinga, Gordon Darcy Lilo?)
Possible new parties (2)
In late April, Gordon Darcy Lilo announced that he and some of his alleged co-conspirators in the defeat of the Political Parties Integrity Bill would form a new political party. At the last election, Lilo teamed up with Job Duddley Tausinga to establish the Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement (SIPRA). Without Lilo involved, I wonder whether that party may dissolve like so many before it.
The report in the Solomon Star referred to Laurie Chan, Nollen Leni, Selwyn Riumana and Peter Boyers as the other co-conspirators but I’m doubtful that Chan would join a new party as he has long been associated with the Association for Independent Members (his father, Sir Tommy Chan, is AIM’s President).
It is also possible that the Malaita Political Party may still be established by members of the Malaita Ma’asina Forum but I haven’t seen anything about it in the online news since September 2009.