Solomons court rules on party politics
Unregistered political parties in Solomon Islands remain locked out of next week's elections after a High Court ruling delivered on Friday in Honiara went against them.
Unregistered political parties in Solomon Islands remain locked out of next weeks elections after a High Court ruling delivered on Friday in Honiara went against them.
MP Mathew Wale argued in court that the political parties integrity legislation, which requires political parties to be registered with the Political Parties Commission, went against his constitutional right to freedom of association.
But the court disagreed, and upheld the Electoral Commission's right to ban parties that have not registered from participating in the election.
The Registrar of the Political Parties Commission, Calvin Ziru, told Koroi Hawkins the ruling is important for the future of politics in the Solomon Islands.
CALVIN ZIRU: I think the chief justice was very clear. The Act does not contravene the right or freedom of association of any individual or political party, and that political parties must be registered under the act, in order for them to contest the elections.
KOROI HAWKINS: What does it mean for parties registered and non-registered and how important is this ruling to the future of the work of the Commission?
CZ: This ruling is very important, it basically articulates what this Act is all about. That there is a need for the development of democracy in the Solomon Islands and this Act does so by requiring the registration of political parties. In short, in order for you to be in government you need to be registered political parties, registered under this particular Act. And so now as we are ready to go into the election, the 12 political parties that have registered are the political parties that will form government as they are the only ones who can enter into coalitions. Any independent who is contesting the election must join a political party in order for them to be eligible to be in government and that's our expectation. Political parties, this is very important for them, they've gone through the whole process over the last few months to get themselves registered, to comply with the provisions of the Act, they've organised their own executives, their membership, they've been able to pursue voters to become members of their organisations, they've gone through writing constitutions and manifestos, so they've done a lot of work to come to this place. So now this ruling basically honours that kind of work and more importantly it is in favour of the kind of system, political party system, but more importantly the democratic system we want to have in the Solomon Islands and that is one where political parties are able to register within the ambit of this law, and have the ability to not only have legal personality but also to enjoy the formation of government and be able to propel their own policies in terms of running the country.
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