More movements on the eve of PM elections in Honiara
More MP movements on the eve of prime ministerial elections in Solomon Islands.
MPs in Solomon Islands continue to shift allegiances between two political camps in the country on the eve of Prime Ministerial elections which will also determine whether the country will have a new government for the next four years.
There are two candidates for the top job - a veteran MP and two time former prime minister Manasseh Sogavare running against political newcomer Jeremiah Manele a respected public servant and former Permanent Secretary.
One of the two will be elected tomorrow by their fellow MPs through a secret ballot at parliament.
Radio New Zealand International's Honiara correspondent, Dorothy Wickham, says at least three MPs have switched sides overnight with intense lobbying in the capital expected to continue right up until the last ballot is cast in Parliament.
She spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the public reaction to Mr Sogavare's possible return.
DW: I think both times he left office under a lot of controversy, as you know, he came in after the coup there was a lot of questions as to what was his position in relation to former militants and all of the crime that was happening at the time and then the second time as every body around the world knows, involved the Julian Moti case. But there are a lot of Solomon Islanders who actually prefer Sogavare's leadership to all the ones who have come after him. I think because he also has shown strength of character to be able to stand his ground on certain issues. Even though those issues at the time may have not been to what public really wants. But he showed the character of being able to stand against, especially our regional neighbours, our big neighbours, like Australia on particular issues, so, there's a grouping, large grouping of Solomon Islanders who want to see him lead again and then there's this other group who are saying, but we don't want the same leaders. The last four years has really disappointed a lot of Solomon Islanders in terms of government overall. What government has not done, should have done. I was speaking to some Solomon Islanders last time they were saying we don't want to have the same government we didn't see any change in the last four years.There were no new, good laws that were passed that affected ordinary Solomon Islanders. Most of the MPs were looking after themselves with a lot of the new Bills that they were taking into parliament and this is in relation to retirement funds to the families and all these other issues. So there is a different feel on the ground I think people are more optimistic now with the choices the two groups have made. Jeremiah Manele is a whole new character in the play. He comes with a very good public service background. Strength of character, unknown, not a lot of people know Jeremiah in that regard but he is of a good character and I have heard from other people that they would like to see somebody new and maybe he should be given a chance to, take leadership and show that he can lead a group. But then there's that question too whether he'll be able to lead such a group?
KH: Manasseh Sogavare - his group is basically a mixture of the former opposition and newly elected MPs, is that right? And then Jeremiah Manele it is sort of the care taker government from the previous parliament?
DW: Yes that's right that's basically the make up of the two groups at the moment. And I think that's also one of the reasons that, Jeremiah would not have the public support , the fact that he has most of the caretaker ministers in his camp. And Sogavare would get more public support because he's got most of the new ones in his camp and the opposition grouping. And I think it's basically come down to the fact now that Solomon Islanders don't want to see too many of the old ministers taking office. They feel that there's nothing achieved during that period. It's going to be a tough one for our new leader, whoever is chosen tomorrow Solomon Islanders really want to see some change now. I think they are getting fed up and I am hoping that this frustration doesn't spillover tomorrow when a new leader is announced, if they do not agree with their choice.
KH: And the people of Solomon Islands - they don't actually have a part in electing this prime minister if you can just briefly mention how that's going to be done tomorrow.
DW: It's a secret ballot vote and yes you're right Solomon Islanders don't have any part in this choosing. And this is where we will see whether this Integrity Bill will actually work and members are actually adhering to parts of this bill, I mean this new law, I mean in terms of aligning themselves to parties. We have seen less of this moving around this time round I have noticed. There have been some movement but not too much but it's basically all up to the members of parliament to choose who our new prime minister will be for the next four years.
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