Posts Tagged ‘2010 Solomon Islands elections’

Solomons political parties

July 24, 2010

This post records all of the parties contesting the 2010 elections in Solomon Islands. I have previously posted on the proliferation of new political parties on 15 February, 13 March and 17 April. Rather than posting more updates, I will keep updating this post at least until election day (August 4). I will make a note of the date of when the post was most recently updated.

There are at least 19 parties that I’m aware of contesting the 2010 election, which is almost certainly a record. In a 2006 article, political analyst Sam Alasia (who is also a candidate in this election), reported that 16 parties contested the 2006 elections, up from 10 and 9 in the previous two elections (Alasia 2006, “Rainbows across the mountains: the first post-RAMSI general election, p.122).

Of the 19 parties, 12 have been established in the last six months. As with previous elections, it seems likely that several will not achieve any parliamentary representation and will dissolve shortly after August 4. In some cases, it seems that parties are established to promote a single candidacy, or to give extra profile to a small number of candidates.

Possible Prime Ministerial candidates

The main purpose of several of the larger parties seems to be to give profile to potential prime ministerial candidates, and also to help those candidates build a solid bloc of votes to help in the negotiations following an election. Several parties have already flagged their intentions to seek to lead the next government. Here is my list of possible prime ministerial candidates, assuming that they first win election to parliament:

  • Manasseh Sogavare (OUR Party)
  • Fred Fono (People’s Congress Party)
  • Danny Philip (Rural Development Party, RDP-SI)
  • Gordon Darcy Lilo (SI Party for Rural Advancement, SIPRA)
  • Possibly Matthew Wale or Steve Abana from the Democratic Party (SIDP)
  • Possibly Allan Kemakeza from the People’s Alliance Party (PAP)

Political Parties – the list

  1. People’s Alliance Party (PAP), est. 1979, led by James Mekab (president) and Allan Kemakeza (party spokesperson)
  2. Association of Independent Members (AIM), est. c.2001, Snyder Rini, Tommy Chan (president)
  3. Ownership, Unity and Responsibility (OUR) party, founded in 2010 by former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare with 7-8 other outgoing MPs
  4. Solomon Islands Democratic Party (SIDP), est. 2006, led by Matthew Wale and Steve Abana
  5. Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement (SIPRA), est. 2006, led by Gordon Darcy Lilo and Job Dudley Tausinga
  6. Reform and Democratic Party of Solomon Islands (RDP-SI), founded in 2010 by former MP and minister Danny Philip
  7. Liberal Party, est. 1988, led by Dr Derek Sikua, or possibly Richard Ulufa’alu (leadership in dispute)
  8. Nasnol Pati, est. c.1997, led by Francis Billy Hilly
  9. Solomon Islands People’s Congress Party, founded in 2010 by outgoing Deputy PM, Fred Fono.
  10. Rural and Urban Political Party (RUPP), co-founded in 2010 by outgoing MPs Samuel Manetoali (party president) and Trevor Olavae
  11. People’s Federation
    Party (PFP), founded in 2010 by former foreign affairs officer Rudolf Henry Dorah (secretary general) and outgoing MP Clay Forau Soalaoi (chair)
  12. Solomon Islands United Party (SIUP), now led by interim president Joel Konofilia
  13. Direct Development Party, founded in 2010 by former SICHE Director, Dick Ha’amori, and journalist and former MP, Alfred Sasako
  14. New Nations Solomon Islands Party (NNSIP), founded in 2010 by businessman Belani Tekulu
  15. Rural Congress People’s Party, founded in 2010 by Rev. Milton Talasasa
  16. Autonomous Solomon Islanders Party (ASIP), co-founded in 2010 by former politicians Jackson Sunaone and Denis Lulei
  17. Twelve Pillars to Peace and Prosperity Party (TP4), founded in 2010 by Delmah Nori (interim president)
  18. People’s Power Action Party, founded in 2010 by Robert Wales Feratelia, former Honiara Lord Mayor
  19. Christian Progressive Party (CPP)

Details on each party are set out below …

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2010 election – Western

July 23, 2010

There are 73 candidates contesting the 9 Western Province seats, substantially up from the 49 contestants in 2006. Several seats are much more heavily contested: Gizo/Kolombangara (14 candidates, up from 6 in 2006), Marovo (12 candidates, up from 7) and Vona Vona/West New Georgia (12 candidates, up from 7). The remainder have not changed significantly.

The tables below provide some statistics on the Western seats in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published on the TARD blogsite and in Excel on the Tutuvatu site). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

Table 1: Election statistics, Western province

Election Candidates Incumbents returned Voters (reg’d) Votes cast Voter turn-out
2010

73

2006

49

8/9

43,829

27,996

63.9%

2001

52

3/9

?

27,537

?

1997

?

?

?

?

?

1993

44

6/9

25,186

15,301

60.8%

Table 2: Candidates per constituency, Western province

Constituency

2010

2006

2001

1997

1993

Gizo/Kolombangara

14

6

9

?

7

Marovo

12

7

4

?

2

North New Georgia

3

1

2

?

1

North Vella la Vella

6

6

6

?

3

Ranongga/Simbo

5

6

4

?

5

Shortland Islands

7

7

10

?

3

South New Georgia/Rendova

8

5

4

?

6

South Vella la Vella

6

4

4

?

7

Vona Vona/West New Georgia

12

7

9

?

10

Total

73

49

52

?

44

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2010 election – Guadalcanal

July 23, 2010

There are 80 candidates contesting the 8 Guadalcanal seats, up a little from the 71 contestants in 2006. Several seats are much more heavily contested: North Guadalcanal (13 candidates, up from 8 in 2006), East Guadalcanal (11 candidates, up from 6) and North West Guadalcanal (14 candidates, up from 10). Some are much less so: Central Guadalcanal (2 candidates, down from 7) and North East Guadalcanal (6 candidates, down from 10).

The tables below provide some statistics on the Guadalcanal seats in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published in Excel on the Tutuvatu site and the TARD blogsite). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

Table 1: Election statistics, Guadalcanal province

Election Candidates Incumbents returned Voters (reg’d) Votes cast Voter turn-out
2010

80

2006

71

4/8

41,879

28,401

67.8%

2001

44

2/8

?

25,648

?

1997

?

?

?

?

?

1993

53

5/8

28,089

18,917

67.3%

Table 2: Candidates per constituency, Guadalcanal province

Constituency

2010

2006

2001

1997

1993

Central Guadalcanal

2

7

5

?

4

East Central Guadalcanal

11

9

6

?

5

East Guadalcanal

11

6

4

?

6

North East Guadalcanal

6

10

6

?

12

North Guadalcanal

13

8

6

?

5

North West Guadalcanal

14

10

7

?

14

South Guadalcanal

12

13

4

?

2

West Guadalcanal

11

8

6

?

5

Total

80

71

44

?

53

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2010 election – Ren-Bell

July 20, 2010

There are 8 candidates contesting the seat of Rennell Bellona, unchanged from 2006. The tables below provide some statistics on the seat of Rennell Bellona in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates (source: Electoral Commission, published on the TARD blogsite and in Excel format on the Tutuvatu site).

I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

Table 1: Election statistics, Rennell Bellona province

Election Candidates Incumbents returned Voters (reg’d) Votes cast Voter turn-out
2010

8

2006

8

0/1

3,155

1,717

54.4%

2001

7

0/1

?

1,878

?

1997

?

?

?

?

?

1993

3

1/1

2,039

1,201

58.9%

Table 2: Candidates per constituency, Rennell Bellona province

Constituency

2010

2006

2001

1997

1993

Rennell Bellona

8

8

7

?

3

Rennell Bellona

  1. Clive Sunga Tuimaka
  2. Charlie Tango: came 2nd in 2006 with 17.9% of the vote
  3. Seth Gukuna: outgoing Minister and MP(2006-10), won in 2006 with 25.2% of the vote
  4. David Puia Tuhanuku: Deputy Executive Secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, former union leader (SINUW), former Director of the Public Service Reform Program, came 3rd in West Honiara in 2006 with 10.6% of the vote
  5. Nollan Teika (SIPRA)
  6. Jay P.S. Kabei: current president of the Solomon Islands Rugby Federation
  7. Tmothy Johnston (SIDP): current Premier, Rennell Bellona Province
  8. Collin S. Tesuatai

2010 election – Makira

July 16, 2010

There are 59 candidates contesting the four Makira seats, a big increase on the 47 contestants in 2006. The biggest increase is in East Makira (14, up from 9 in 2006), which has been vacated by retiring MP, David Sitai. The number of contestants has also increased in both Central Makira (16, up from 12) and Ulawa/Ugi (14, up from 11). West Makira was the most heavily contested in 2006 and it remains heavily contested in 2010 – once again, 15 candidates will be fighting it out.

The tables below provide some statistics on the Makira seats in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published on the Toabaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) blog). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

Table 1: Election statistics, Makira province

Election Candidates Incumbents returned Voters (reg’d) Votes cast Voter turn-out
2010

59

2006

47

3/4

20,778

14,539

70.0%

2001

26

2/4

?

13,548

?

1997

?

?

?

?

?

1993

17

3/4

11,206

6,055

54.0%

Table 2: Candidates per constituency, Makira province

Constituency

2010

2006

2001

1997

1993

Central Makira

16

12

10

?

8

East Makira

14

9

8

?

6

Ulawa/Ugi

14

11

3

?

2

West Makira

15

15

5

?

1

Total

59

47

26

?

17

Central Makira

There are 16 candidates, compared to 12 in 2006, 10 in 2001 and 8 in 1993.

  1. Romano Tarohania (PCP)
  2. Vkey Mansugu (possibly SIPRA)
  3. Nestor Ghiro
  4. Rev’d Joseph Tamatara (or Tamuatara, RDP-SI)
  5. Henry Hagawusia
  6. Hypolite Taremae
  7. Paul Watoto
  8. Jack Faga: former magistrate
  9. Nesta Marahora (possibly SIPRA): current member of the Makira Ulawa provincial assembly (ward 10)
  10. Fox Qwaina: former Principal, Waimapuru National High School
  11. Alfred Wote
  12. Fredson Fenua: came 5th out of 12 in 2006 with 9.1% of the vote
  13. Aaron Koroa
  14. Bernard Ghiro (OUR party): outgoing MP (2001-10), won in 2006 with 27.3% of the vote
  15. Thomas Nukuafi
  16. Edmund Mehare

Ulawa/Ugi

There are 14 candidates, compared to 11 in 2006, 3 in 2001 and 2 in 1993.

  1. Carl Warren Beloen: owner of dreamtime shipping & club, Australian descent
  2. Ashley Rohorua
  3. Nathaniel Waena (Nasnol Pati): former Governor General (2004-09), former MP (1987-2004)
  4. Fox Sumaheniau
  5. Augustine Waetara
  6. Noel Mamau
  7. Meffrey (or Miefery) Awao: came 5th out of 11 in 2006 with 8.1% of the vote
  8. Michael Ramsi Poki (OUR party)
  9. Henry Marau (RDP-SI)
  10. James Tora: outgoing Minister for Police and MP (2004-2010), won in 2006 with 22.4% of the vote
  11. Wilfred Robertson Natei: former administration manager, Our Telekom
  12. Joseph Hary Maka’a
  13. Rafael Oli
  14. Peter Titiulu (SIPRA)

West Makira

There are 15 candidates, compared to 15 in 2006, 5 in 2001 and 1 (Solomon Mamaloni) in 1993.

  1. Golden Kiloko (RDP-SI)
  2. Edmond Dangi
  3. Nelson Nausi
  4. Jimmy Hanson Riunga
  5. Alick Dangi
  6. Daniel Dautaha
  7. Dick Ha’amori (leader, Direct Development Party): former Director of SICHE, came 5th out of 15 in 2006 with 7.7% of the vote
  8. James Morea
  9. Jackson Sunaone (co-founder, ASIP): former MP (2000-01), brother of former Prime Minister the late Solomon Mamaloni, came 2nd in 2006 with 19.1% of the vote
  10. Peter Trena Rarahabura (SIPRA)
  11. Jackson Raeri
  12. John Mepuke Taaru
  13. Japhet Waipora (OUR party): outgoing MP (2006-10, also previously member for Central Makira, 1997-2001), won in 2006 with 19.7% of the vote
  14. Richard Taro
  15. Paul Marita

East Makira

There are 14 candidates, compared to 9 in 2006, 8 in 2001 and 6 in 1993. This seat is vacant following the retirement of long-serving MP, David Sitai.

  1. Warren Tereqoroa: came 6th out of 9 in 2006 with 6.6% of the vote
  2. Martin Karani: former chief electoral officer, former member (North Star Harbour ward) and Minister of the Makira-Ulawa Provincial Assembly, charged with corruption in 2005 (RNZI, 27/11/05) for granting a government contract to his own shipping company, found guilty and sentenced to eight months jail by the Honiara Magistrates Court in March 2009 (Solomon Times, 03/09),  subsequently forfeited his provincial seat
  3. Henry Siake Kuata
  4. Otto Mafuara Kuper: former accountant, Solomon Airlines
  5. Nathaniel Peter Wakaa
  6. Stevenson Piringisau: former Premier, Makira-Ulawa Province
  7. Daniel Wagatora
  8. Stanley Stafford Siapu (RUPP): came 8th out of 9 in 2006 with 4.1% of the vote
  9. Henry Jack Kuata Sitai (RDP-SI)
  10. Thomas Bea
  11. Fred Pagewa Fanua: came 3rd in 2006 with 11.8% of the vote (and 2nd in 2001)
  12. Nicholas K Gapiara
  13. Alfred Ghiro (SIDP): came 2nd in 2006 with 23.1% of the vote
  14. John Mamate (or Mamafe, OUR party)

2010 election – Choiseul

July 15, 2010

There are 23 candidates contesting the three Choiseul seats, up from 17 in 2006. This is largely due to a big increase in contestants in South Choiseul (13, up from 5 in 2006). This is probably a response to the decision by outgoing MP for South Choiseul, Rev. Leslie Boseto, not to seek a fourth term in office (he has held the seat from 1997-2010).

The tables below provide some statistics on the Choiseul seats in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published on the Toabaita Authority Research and Development (TARD) blog). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

Table 1: Election statistics, Choiseul province

Election Candidates Incumbents returned Voters (reg’d) Votes cast Voter turn-out
2010

23

2006

17

3/3

15,707

9,566

60.9%

2001

14

2/3

?

9,394

?

1997

?

?

?

?

?

1993

15

2/3

6,657

5,184

77.9%

Table 2: Candidates per constituency, Choiseul province

Constituency

2010

2006

2001

1997

1993

East Choiseul

4

5

4

?

4

North West Choiseul

6

7

6

?

7

South Choiseul

13

5

4

?

4

Total

23

17

14

?

15

East Choiseul

There are 4 candidates, compared to 5 in 2006 and 4 in 2001 and 1993.

  1. Hence Vaekesa: former Director of Trade Division, Department of Commerce
  2. Moses Kurebose Biliki: former Director of Environment and Conservation Division, Department of Environment, came 4th out of 5 in 2006 with 15.0% of the vote
  3. Shepard Lapo: former senior police officer, more recently he was a security officer for UNDP
  4. Manasseh Sogavare (OUR party)*: outgoing MP (1997-2010), former PM (2000-01, 2006-07), won the 2006 election with 36.2% of the vote

North West Choiseul

There are 6 candidates, compared to 7 in 2006, 6 in 2001 and 7 in 1993.

  1. Francis Qalokamake (OUR party): contested East Choiseul in 2006 and came 2nd with 27.3% of the vote
  2. Connelly Sadakabatu
  3. Sylvia Nowak Anderson
  4. Ralph Billy Takubala
  5. Clement Pikabatu Kengava*: outgoing MP (2001-06), won the 2006 election with 31.8% of the vote
  6. Alpha Kimata (SIDP): former MP (1993-2001) and former Finance Minister, came 4th out of 7 in 2006 with 14.3% of the vote

South Choiseul

There are 13 candidates, compared to 5 in 2006 and 4 in 2001 and 1993. At the age of 77, the outgoing MP, Rev. Leslie Boseto, decided to retire after serving three terms in office.

  1. Elijah Doro Muala (SIPRA)
  2. Walter Katovai
  3. Alick Sogati
  4. Atkin Vilaka
  5. Collish Leketo Tutua
  6. Noah Zala
  7. Michael Collin Pitakaka
  8. Brandley Pitanoe
  9. Jackson Kiloe: Premier, Choiseul Province
  10. Cromwell Qopoto: geologist, former Director of Mines in the Department of Mines and Energy
  11. Robertson Erere Qalokale: former Ministry of Finance official, came 3rd in the 2006 election with 19.1% of the vote, (also see/listen to an interview with Qalokale on Radio Australia, 23/03/10)
  12. Rev’d Caleb Kotali: former MP (1989-97)
  13. Wilson Pita

2010 election – Central

July 15, 2010

There are 18 candidates contesting the two Central seats, a small decrease from the 21 contestants in 2006. Ngella remains the more hotly contested seat (12 candidates, down from 13 in 2006) whilst the incumbent and former PM Allan Kemakeza faces just five opponents (there were 8 candidates in 2006).

The tables below provide some statistics on the Central seats in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published on the Toabaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) blog). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

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2010 election – Temotu

July 15, 2010

There are 40 candidates contesting the three Temotu seats, a big increase from the 22 contestants in 2006. Both Temotu Pele (13 candidates, up from 6 in 2006) and Temotu Vatud (19 candidates, up from 8 in 2006) are very heavily contested. By contrast, veteran politician Patteson Oti will once again face 7 other contestants in Temotu Nende as he attempts to win his fourth term in parliament.

The tables below provide some statistics on the Temotu seats in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published on the Toabaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) blog). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

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2010 election – Isabel

July 15, 2010

There are 27 candidates contesting the three Isabel seats in 2010, down from the 34 contestants in 2006. The fall in candidates is entirely due to Gao/Bugotu, which was very hotly contested in 2006 but is less so this time around (7 candidates, down from 15 in 2006). The two other constituencies – Hograno/Kia/Havulei and Maringe/Kokota – have roughly the same number of candidates as the previous election.

The two tables below provide some statistics on the Isabel seats in recent elections. Below that is a list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published in the Island Sun, 12 July, also published on the Toabaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) blog). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

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2010 election – Honiara

July 14, 2010

There are 41 candidates contesting the three Honiara seats in 2010, almost equalling the 43 contestants in 2006 (Solomon Star, 9 July). This time around, however, it is Central Honiara that is very hotly contested (23 candidates, up from 13 in 2006) whilst East Honiara has 12 candidates (down from 20) and West Honiara has just 6 (down from 10).

The table below provides some statistics on the Honiara seats in recent elections. Below that is a partial list of the candidates in each constituency (source: Electoral Commission, published in the Island Sun, 12 July, also published on the Toabaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) blog). I’ve also included any information I’ve been able to find about the candidates’ party affiliations, previous electoral performance, work experience and qualifications. (Note: I will keep updating this post until the election, so comments and corrections are particularly welcome.)

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2010 election – female candidates

July 14, 2010

At least 22 women will contest the August election. There were 26 female candidates in 2006 – a record number, although none were successful in winning a seat (see my earlier post on women in Solomons politics.)

Here is the list of female candidates for the upcoming election along with a few details about their careers, qualifications and party affiliations. The original sources for this list were two reports in the Solomon Star on 8 July (which claims to list 18 female candidates but in fact only lists 16) and 12 July.

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2010 election update

June 29, 2010

Update (25/07/10): my latest election update is available here.

On 22 June, the Governor General, Frank Kabui, officially announced that the election will be held on Wednesday, 4 August. Candidates have two weeks (until 7 July) to nominate for the election.

In the meantime, campaigning has begun in earnest, with policy announcements on a range of issues. Here are summaries and links to announcements made in recent weeks. (I previously posted on various campaign manifestos and policy announcements back in March.)

Here’s a list of the range of topics covered in the announcements:

  • Decentralisation, rural development & RCDF
  • Taiwan & China
  • RAMSI and aid donors
  • Democratic Party (SIDP) – its record & party list
  • PAP’s priorities
  • Others – gambling, tourism & SEZs
  • Sri Ramon Quitales – RIP

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Election date: (NOT) 29 July

April 27, 2010

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!)

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2010 election update

April 17, 2010

Fred Fono

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.

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The Party party

April 17, 2010

Update (25/07/10): I now have a complete list of parties contesting the 2010 election here.

I have been trying to keep track of the proliferation of new political parties (see previous posts here and here). My current tally is that nine new parties have been established and up to six existing parties are likely to re-contest.

This suggests that, once again, there is strong interest in the upcoming election, even before the election date is announced. And the true number of parties may be even higher. A couple of weeks ago, Radio Australia reported that 11 new parties have declared their intention to run in the upcoming elections.

Here is my latest tally …

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East Honiara – Poll position

March 20, 2010

The Solomon Star has published results of polling for the seat of East Honiara that found that Auditor General Edward Ronia was the preferred candidate, followed by Douglas Ete (CEO of the National Referral Hospital) and Paul Maenu (businessman and former member for Lau Mbaelelea, 2001-06).  The incumbent, Silas Milikada, came in fourth.

East Honiara is an interesting seat to follow for a couple of reasons …

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2010 Elections – parties & campaign manifestos

March 13, 2010

Update (25/07/10): I now have a complete list of parties contesting the 2010 election here.

I now count six new parties that have been established in the lead-up to this year’s elections. I mentioned five of them in an earlier post. The latest addition is the People’s Federation Party (Director General: Rudolf Henry Dorah, Solomon Star, 12/03/10).

We should also keep an eye out for two other groups that may get established before the election:

  • In September 2009, the Malaita Maasina Forum announced that it was drafting a constitution for a new Malaita Political Party. The announcement was made by its General Secretary, William Gua, (Solomon Times, 17/09/09), and its spokesperson, Hudson Kwalea (RNZI, 03/09/09).
  • And back in 2008, there was a brief scandal when it was suggested that up to 18 MPs (including several government ministers) were given an ultimatum to pay up borrowed monies or join a new political party – the Solomons National Alliance Party (SNAP, Solomon Times, 08/10/08).  The Solomom Times report stated that SNAP had the ‘backing of wealthy Honiara businessman, Bobo Dettke’. According to Jon Fraenkel’s account of the 2006 election (p.173), Dettke was rumoured to have been a key player in the splinter group of mostly Guale MPs who set up camp at Pacific Casino Hotel after breaking away from the coalition at Iron Bottom Sound Hotel. Fraenkel states: ‘it was widely rumoured that the bills for their rooms and expenses … were being paid for by Dettke (reportedly at a cost of SI$2 million)’.

Election issues & campaign manifestos

The parties and candidates have begun announcing their various election manifestos and promises. Whilst it is unclear how much we can learn from these statements, they at least give some indication of what issues the candidates think are of concern to the electorate. Based on my casual reading of the online media, here is a sample of the issues that parties and candidates have raised so far:

  • land issues,
  • road services,
  • access to finance,
  • State Government,
  • peace and reconciliation,
  • delivery of services to rural people, and
  • corruption.

I’ve listed below the policy positions expressed by four parties that I’m aware of.

1. OUR Party, led by Mannaseh Sogavare, has already held campaign launches in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Choiseul, Western and Malaita – a level of nation-wide campaigning that is perhaps unprecedented in Solomons’ political history. Key policy issues addressed by Sogavare include:

  • Decentralization and bottom-up strategy: OUR part has frequently committed to decentralize economic development and reintroduce the ‘bottom-up development strategy’ previously pursued by Sogavare’s Grand Coalition for Change Government (GCCG, 2006-07).
  • Foreign investment strategy: Mr Sogavare says OUR Party will move away from the ‘hands off leave it to the private sector strategy advanced by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank’ and instead implement a foreign investment strategy ‘that will attract the right kind of investors into the country, targeting the strengths and potentials of the country in the rural areas’ (Solomon Times, 18/02/10).
  • State Government: OUR Party has supported long-standing calls for the adoption of state government (Solomon Star, 20/02/10).
  • Guadalcanal – return of alienated land: Sogavare assured the people of Guadalcanal of his party’s commitment to return all land alienated to original landowners (Solomon Star, 09/02/10).
  • Guadalcanal – bona fide demands: OUR Party assured the people of Guadalcanal of its commitment to address the issues behind their outstanding bona-fide demands to the national government (Solomon Star, 10/02/10). (Note: the ‘bona fide’ demands have a long history going back at least to the 1980s and were often cited in the context of the 1998-2003 Tensions. For more details, see Jon Fraenkel, The Manipulation of Custom, Ch.3 and App.2.)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission: OUR Party has stated that the current Truth and Reconciliation Commission is an example of the country taking an approach to peace and reconciliation that is overly academic, costly and ‘guided by foreign concepts’ (Solomon Star, 20/02/10). All reports on the TRC by the Solomon Times are available here.
  • Western & Choiseul – spill-over effects of the Bougainville crisis: OUR Party has said that it recognises that the people of Western and Choiseul provinces have some outstanding claims with the government over the spill-over effects of the Bougainville crisis (Solomon Star, 20/02/10).
  • Western Province – land and logging issues: OUR Party has acknowledged ‘extreme examples of gross injustice to people in the Western Province’ in relation to logging activities that resulted in only limited returns to the original landowners (Solomon Times, 16/02/10).

2. The People’s Power Action Party, headed by Robert Wales Feratelia, has announced plans to establish a ‘Micro-finance Bank for Solomon Islands’ because ‘currently the banking sector has placed a stigma on the poor, excluding their access to banking resources’. The new Bank would also ‘be the financial mechanism to properly coordinate the development funds allocated by the government to the constituencies, namely, the RCDF, the Millennium Goal Development Fund, the Micro Projects Fund, and Rural Livelihood Fund.’  (Solomon Star, 11/02/10)

3. The People’s Federaration Party says that it wants to address five ‘crises’ facing Solomons (Solomon Star, 12/03/10):

  • An increasing impoverished rural population with deep seated land disputes threatening to wreak havoc on our economy,
  • A rotten Westminster system abused by too many MPs for personal gain,
  • An unbiased (sic) banking system that serves the rich at the expense of the poor,
  • A leadership crisis; and
  • The threat of climate change.

4. Finally, the President of the People’s Alliance Party (PAP), James Mekab, wants to improve roads through reform of the Department of Works and Engineering: ‘PAP sees this division as an engineering force for economic development for our country. PAP will bring dozens of well qualified engineering manpower to supervise the roads developments around our country’ (Solomon Star, 10/03/10).

Other election tidbits

Here are a few other interesting tidbits that I stumbled across whilst researching this post.

  • New campaign techniques for the 2010 election: Evans Wasuka has written an interesting article in the March edition of Island Business magazine. Wasuka discusses some of the new campaign techniques that are already evident (such as OUR party’s plan to conduct launches in all nine provinces, and ASIP’s decision to broadcast its launch on national radio). He suggests that the increased party political campaigning may already be a response to the possible enactment of the Political Parties Integrity Bill.
  • Family ties: Wasuka also points out that ASIP co-founder and former member for West Makira (2000-01), Jackson Sunaone (or Sunaune), is the brother of former Prime Minister late Solomon Sunaone Mamaloni. No doubt this is well known to most Solomon Islanders but I confess that I had missed this connection until now.
  • The other MPs in OUR party: I was curious to know which other MPs had joined Manasseh Sogavare to found OUR party. A letter writer to the Solomon Star (06/03/10), Williamson Naiaboara, has identified at least seven of them: Manasseh Sogavare (East Choiseul), Patteson Oti (Temotu Nende), Bernard Ghiro (Central Makira), Japhet Waipora (West Makira), Peter Shanel (Central Guadalcanal), Isaac Inoke (West Honiara), Francis Zama (South New Georgia/Rendova/Tetepare).
  • Another letter writer, Ricky Turi (10/03/10), has made some interesting comments about a possible candidate for West Honiara, Tran Namson, who apparently is the owner of Honiara Casino. In his letter, Turi states that: ‘In past elections, Namson reportedly backed his former associates, Charles Dausabea (Former MP of East Honiara) and the current member of Central Honiara, Nelson Ne’e.’