Election analysis

As at Sunday evening, I’ve cobbled together 43 results (or, in a couple of cases, ‘likely wins’) thanks to: some excellent reporting by Arekaman on the Tutuvatu public forum and by Derick Manu’ari on his blog; and regular updates by the SIBC. My list is at the bottom of this post.

Downfall of the ‘big men’, start of a new generation?

So far, the ratio of newcomers to incumbents is pretty close to 50/50. So far, so unsurprising. The big story, of course, is the fall of many high profile, long-serving MPs including former Prime Ministers Francis Billy Hilly and Allan Kemakeza, former Deputy PM Fred Fono, a couple of three-term MPs (Patteson Oti and William Haomae) and a swag of two-term MPs.

More generally, this parliament will be much less experienced than the previous one. In the outgoing parliament, there were 25 members who had already served more that one term. Of these, 14 have been defeated and three more have retired. Only five have been returned so far: Job Dudley Tausinga, Manasseh Sogavare, Snyder Rini, Gordon Darcy Lilo and James Tora. By contrast, in 2006, 13 of the 22 experienced MPs were returned.

The flip-side is that first-termers have done unusually well in this election. Of the 24 first-termers facing re-election, 17 have already been returned and only 4 have been defeated. In 2006, more than half of the first-termers were removed (15/28, plus one who did not recontest).

This suggests that the Ninth Parliament will represent something of a generational change. This may either allow a small number of old hands (such as Tausinga, Sogavare, Rini, Darcy Lilo or Danny Philip) to take charge or it may give an opportunity to the ‘class of 2006’ (such as Abana, Wale and Sikua) to come to the fore. We will see …

Party performance

With a little 20-20 hindsight, it seems fair to say that there were six main parties to watch in this election.

  • OUR Party: new party, fielded around 37-41 candidates including 7 outgoing MPs, led by Manasseh Sogavare
  • Democratic Party (SIDP): existing party, fielded around 21-23 candidates including 10 outgoing MPs, led by outgoing Planning Minister Steve Abana
  • Rural Development Party (RDP): new party, fielded around 24-27 candidates, led by former MP and Deputy PM Danny Philip
  • People’s Congress Party (PCP): new party, fielded at least 7 candidates, led by outgoing Deputy PM Fred Fono
  • Party for Rural Advancement (SIPRA): existing party, fielded around 22 candidates including 2 outgoing MPs, led by former Deputy PM Job Tausinga
  • People’s Alliance Party (PAP): existing party, fielded at least 7 candidates including 3 outgoing MPs, spokesperson is former PM Allan Kemakeza

So far, the big winner seems to be the SIDP, with the RDP and SIPRA also picking up a few seats. OUR party has had mixed results, whilst the PCP and PAP have both fared poorly.

The SIDP has at least nine representatives in the Ninth Parliament, with seven returning MPs (Wale, Abana, Iduri, Tom, Maelanga, Sofu, Dei Pacha) and two new members: the former head of the Central Bank, Rick Hou, and Moses Garu (a former branch manager for DBSI). It has, however, lost a couple of outgoing members: Daniel Enele Kwanairara, who was defeated by Jimmy Lusibaea in North Malaita; and Severino Nuaiasi, who was defeated by John Maneniaru in West ‘Are ‘Are.

The Rural Development Party has picked up at least three seats, all of which were fairly significant contests: Philip defeated Francis Zama in South New Georgia; Douglas Ete defeated Charles Dausabea, Simeon Bouro and others in East Honiara; and Charles Sigoto defeated Francis Billy Hilly in Ranongga/Simbo.

The Party for Rural Advancement has also won at least three seats: returning MPs Job Tausinga and Gordon Darcy Lilo plus newcomer (and son of Job) Silas Tausinga, who defeated Peter Boyers in Vona Vona/West New Georgia. (It’s possible that Elijah Doro Muala was also with SIPRA, although according to the unreliable SIEC listing, he was associated with the National Party.)

OUR party has had mixed results. It also has at least three representatives: returning MPs Sogavare and Peter Shanel plus Dickson Mua Panakitasi, who defeated Allan Kemakeza in Savo/Russells. However, five outgoing MPs have been defeated (Patteson Oti, Francis Zama, Isaac Inoke, Bernard Ghiro, Japhet Waipora), although it is possible that Inoke will challenge his loss to Namson Tran in West Honiara due to alleged irregularities in voter registrations.

It is possible that Sogavare may be able to recruit two newcomers – former GCCG adviser Dick Ha’amori and a former Sogavare backer Bobo Dettke. Nonetheless, for a party that fielded the most candidates in this election and which ran one of the strongest campaigns in Solomons’ history, this must seem like a disappointing outcome.

The PAP and the PCP will both also be disappointed. Both have failed to win a single seat so far and, in the process, both have seen the defeat of their high profile leaders, Kemakeza and Fono.

I have omitted the Association of Independent Members (AIM) from my list because I don’t have any record of whether it fielded candidates and because several of its former parliamentary members had drifted to other parties or are no longer in parliament. However, it may still have some influence due to the re-election of Snyder Rini and the financial backing of its president, Tommy Chan.

(Note: technically, the Direct Development Party (Dick Ha’amori, West Makira) and the Rural and Urban Development Party (Samuel Manetoali, Gao Bugotu) have both got one member each in the new parliament. However, with only a single representative, it seems likely that these newly-found parties dissolve almost as quickly as they appeared.)

Now the lobbying begins …

No doubt party leaders and their backers will have already begun lobbying to form the next coalition government. As usual, the result will ultimately depend on the swag of incoming independents who will have to choose between two or perhaps three rival camps. Who will lead these camps?

It seems likely that the SIDP and some other members of the outgoing CNURA government will form one camp. In addition to the nine SIDP MPs, recent reports suggest that Derek Sikua is leading in North East Guadalcanal and at least six other CNURA ministers have also been returned (Milner Tozaka, Toswell Kaua, Seth Gukuna, Job Tausinga, Samuel Manetoali and James Tora).

One area of uncertainty is whether there is much fall-out from the recent fracturing of the CNURA government over the political parties integrity bill. Two of the alleged dissidents (Peter Boyers and Laurie Chan) are no longer in parliament but three others (Gordon Darcy Lilo, Snyder Rini and Selwyn Riumana) are back.

It seems likely that Sogavare (OUR party) will attempt to form a rival camp but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to build the critical mass to do so. Along with Darcy Lilo and Rini, former four-term MP Danny Philip (RDP) may prove to be a key power-broker in determining the make-up of the different camps.

A few newcomers may also have an impact on the upcoming negotiations:

  • businessman Bobo Dettke (North West Guadalcanal) is no stranger to this process; he was reported to have helped finance the Sogavare camp during the 2006 negotiations
  • former University of Hawai’i academic John Moffat Fugui (Central Honiara) probably knows many of the key players thanks to his previous roles as secretary of the CNURA caucus and SSPM to Allan Kemakeza
  • various reports suggest that businessman Namson Tran (West Honiara) may also be influential

Strong wins

Contrary to my expectations, a number of candidates have won with very substantial majorities. Job Tausinga was always likely to do well in North New Georgia and he did, winning 74.2% of the vote. Perhaps more remarkable is Manasseh Maelanga’s performance in East Malaita. He faced six other opponents and still managed to garner 71.5%. Jimmy Lusibaea (8 opponents, 49.8%), Seth Gukuna (7 opponents, 47.9%) and Milner Tozaka (5 opponents, 45.3%) also performed strongly.

By contrast, with an open field in South Choiseul following the retirement of Rev. Leslie Boseto, the vote split fairly evenly amongst 13 candidates. The eventual winner, Elijah Muala, got in with just 18.3% of the vote. I suspect that when more results come through, Muala’s result will appear more typical than Tausinga’s or Maelanga’s.

Provincial analysis

Honiara has once again proven to be the burial ground for incumbent MPs. In fact, Honiara has not returned a sitting MP since 1993, when Charles Dausabea won re-election. (There is a small chance that this may change if: Isaac Inoke decides to petition the result in West Honiara, that petition is successful, and he wins the subsequent by-election.)

All of the Makira seats were heavily contested and the results reflect this: only one incumbent (James Tora) has been returned.

In Western province, the pattern is less predictable: two of the most heavily contested seats were won back by the incumbents (Darcy Lilo won against 13 opponents and Rini won against 11) whilst several more lightly contested seats resulted in a change. Overall, four of the nine Western MPs survived and five fell.

Isabel has also been tough on incumbents in recent elections – it returned none in either 2001 or 2006. This time, however, all three sitting members were returned. Similarly, Malaita has been kinder on its incumbents – 7 out of 14 have already been re-elected, with two results outstanding.

Guadalcanal is still awaiting the announcement of two or three seats but has already returned four incumbents (out of eight).

Choiseul returned one incumbent (Sogavare) for its three seats. Two of Temotu’s three seats are still to be declared however one incumbent (Patteson Oti) has already been ousted. Central kept one (M. Kemakeza) and removed one (A. Kemakeza) and Ren-Bell kept Seth Gukuna for another term.

A final, disappointing observation

It seems that, once again, there will be no women in the Solomons parliament as I’m pretty sure that the remaining undeclared seats have no women contesting them.

Results as at Sunday, 8 August

CENTRAL

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Ngella Mark Kemakeza* Ind.

12

Savo and Russells Dickson Panakitasi OUR

6

CHOISEUL

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

East Choiseul Manesseh Sogavare* OUR

4

North West Choiseul Connelly Sandakabatu Ind.

6

South Choiseul Elijah Doro Muala SIPRA

18.3

13

GUADALCANAL

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Central Guadalcanal Peter Shanel* OUR

2

East Central Guadalcanal

11

East Guadalcanal

10

North East Guadalcanal Derick Sikua* Liberal

6

North Guadalcanal Martin Sopaghe* Ind.

13

North West Guadalcanal Bobo Dettke Ind.

14

South Guadalcanal David Dei Pacha* SIDP

12

West Guadalcanal Moses Garu SIDP

11

Note: Sikua’s election had not yet been confirmed on Sunday night but apparently he had an unbeatable lead.

HONIARA

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Central Honiara John Moffat Fugui Ind.

23

East Honiara Douglas Ete RDP

12

West Honiara Namson Tran Ind.

6

ISABEL

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Gao/Bugotu Samuel Manetoali* RUPP

7

Hograno/Kia/Havulei Selwyn Riumana* Ind.

10

Maringe/Kokota Varian Lonamei* Ind.

32.7

10

MAKIRA

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Central Makira Hypolite Taremae Ind.

16

East Makira

14

Ulawa/Ugi James Tora*

14

West Makira Dick Ha’amori DDP

15

MALAITA

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Aoke/Langa Langa Matthew Wale* SIDP

37.4

6

Baegu/Asifola Toswell Kaua* Ind.

23.7

14

Central Kwara’ae Jackson Fiulaua Ind.

11

East Are Are Andrew Keniasina Ind.

8

East Kwaio Stanley Sofu* SIDP

4

East Malaita Manasseh Maelanga* SIDP

71.5

7

Fataleka Steve Abana* SIDP

9

Lau Mbaelelea

11

Malaita Outer Islands

7

North Malaita Jimmy Lusibaea Ind.

49.8

9

Small Malaita Rick Houenipwela SIDP

15

West Are Are John Maneniaru Ind.

10

West Kwaio Peter Tom* SIDP

34.9

13

West Kwara’ae Sam Iduri* SIDP

18

Note: some reports say that Steve Abana has won Fateleka but other sites do not confirm this yet.

RENNELL BELLONA

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Rennell Bellona Seth Gukuna* AIM

47.9

8

TEMOTU

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Temotu Nende Commins Mewa Ind.

8

Temotu Pele

13

Temotu Vatud

19

WESTERN

Electorate Winner Party

Vote

Cand’s

Gizo/Kolombangara Gordon Darcy Lilo* SIPRA

38.7

14

Marovo Snyder Rini* AIM

12

North New Georgia Job Tausinga* SIPRA

74.2

3

North Vella La Vella Milner Tozaka* Ind.

45.3

6

Ranongga/Simbo Charles Sigoto RDP

38.8

5

Shortland Islands Steve Laore Ind.

7

Sth New Georg-Rend-Tetep Danny Philip RDP

8

South Vella La Vella Lionel Alex Ind.

6

Vona Vona/Wst New Georg Silas Tausinga SIPRA

12

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3 Responses to “Election analysis”

  1. anon Says:

    excellent analysis and statistics harry! very interesting. the real test comes this week and next as the government forms with a lot of political jockeying and money changing hands.

  2. gabby Says:

    Excellent Harry – its been hard to keep up with whats been happening since our own election coverage here is sooooo rivetting……. Thanks for such well researched and good analysis.

  3. Jill Says:

    I agree. A most interesting analysis. What will also be interesting is whether this election is the beginning of a trend away from personalities and big names to performance and party allegiance. More immediately, yes, the big test comes this week: where the power is, and what it relies on.

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