Battle to form new Solomons' government intensifies
Political plates shifting in Solomon Islands as parties negotiate over possible governing coalition.
The political numbers game continues to intensify in Solomon Islands as MPs battle to form prospective governing coalitions following last week's election.
Three groupings have so far emerged and have set up camps in different hotels in Honiara where they are lobbying both party MPs and independents to fill their ranks.
The general secretary of the New Nation Party, David Tuhanuku, who unsuccessfully contested the elections for Rennel and Bellona, spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the political dynamics at work.
DAVID TUHANUKU: The Independents are going to be the ones that will determine who will run the government. But I believe that even before the general elections there were already consultations between the various parties. But things have not firmed and it's not very clear what parties belong to what camp. But you know, based on what I can see, I think we are going to have two camps, one led by the Democratic Alliance Party and SIPRA and the other one is going to be led by the United Democratic Party. So that's where I think the battle is going to come down to. And what's likely to happen is that both groups are going to try and get independents into their various parties. Because the memorandum of understanding or agreement by virtue of the Political Integrity Act is going to be between parties not individuals. So that is going to be quite crucial. But I am not sure what's the legal situation if a bigger group would like to function as a group of independent MPs joining you know one of these two groups but I understand that the act is very clear on that, the MOU which will be declared by his Excellency the Governor General, will be between political parties and not independent groups or independent individuals.
KOROI HAWKINS: And in relation to government what kind of government can the Solomon Island people expect from these two different camps?
DT: In fact as you said if you look at the manifestos of the different political parties they are quite similar. And I expect that any government in Solomon Islands would be very similar to what we have seen in the past. But for Solomon Islands to be able to come out and make and see some differences in how the country is being governed has to be when or where a government deals with the area of corruption. I don't expect a lot of differences between any new government and the governments we had in the past. The only thing that will make a difference, if these people are prepared to govern for the interests of the country rather than their own individual interest. Commercial, political, otherwise and those of their cronies.
KH: You contested as you said the elections. How hard is it to contest for leadership in Solomon Islands?
DT: I could not convince the people of Rennel and Bellona to vote for me because I think that there was a lot of money being played in the election in the Rennel. I feel responsible to not to further divide the society by taking any legal actions or petition against the winner right now. But I think at some point it's going to come back and be a very, very destructive elements. And when I went and campaigned in Rennel and Bellona what saddened me is that, you know, the institutions, you know the governance, the province institution, the churches, the community, traditional leaderships, they all collapsing around the fact that it's, it's money talks. It's money and people are disregarding and that's a very very worrying thing for Rennel and Bellona and for Solomon Islands in general. But just one final point. It is in the interest of a minority group like Rennel and Bellona and other minority groups to make sure that the institutions and the systems we have in the country, they do function properly. Because if they don't, the majority of Solomon Islanders who occupy, you know, who are in the public service, who are in the private sector they are going to be better off than the minority groups who don't, who don't have any people in the public service. Like their is no single permanent secretary for example from Rennel and Bellona in the public service so that's focusing on Rennel and Bellona but that is a reflection of what's going on in the country. If we are going to make any difference in the future, the new government, the individuals, the leaders have to know. Any new government it has to put priority on honesty, they, you know, the leaders have to be honest and it all boils down to the integrity of individuals. And you know the government and our leaders have to be to feel responsible for Solomon Islands. If our leaders continue to feel, not to have any sense of responsibility for the people, for the country Solomon Islands and they don't have any sense of care for the people we are not going to see much difference. And when it comes to corruption and institutions breaking down being the underlying cause of problems, in the future I think you know we are heading for another disaster, if these things are not going to exist in our leaders.
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