Gov’t agree to roundtable over electoral reform bill

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By Gary Hatigeva

AFTER speaking out on their position not to support the Constitution (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) Bill 2018, the Opposition and Independent groups have given the government options to either, withdraw the Bill or have the seating adjourned to allow for a roundtable deliberation on it between the two sides of the house.

As much as they wanted to have the bill through, the government was left in a position where they will also need the opposition and independent groups to vote in support of the bill and have it passed.

They either chose to listen to the groups on the other side of the house by going with the option for consideration over recommendations, or risk seeing it out the parliament doors.

The discussions are expected to feature suggestions made by the Opposition and Independent groups on the proposed amendments to the constitution for its electoral section and the Political Parties Integrity Act.

After it was obvious that members of the other sides of the house were locked down to sabotage the bill, the Leader of the Independent Group and Member of Parliament for Northeast Guadalcanal, Dr Derek Sikua raised a point of order, calling for parliament to adjourn all its business into the bill due to what have been revealed.

Sikua then suggested for Prime Minister Rick Hounipwela to consider situation and decide on whether to withdraw or have the bill adjourned, knowing that their (Opposition and Independent) numbers would be needed to fulfil the constitutional requirement for an amendment to any section under the national constitution of the country.

In his response to the suggestion, Prime Minister Hou in consultation with his deputy and the government bench, agreed to have parliament adjourned on the grounds of not only the number issue, but added that the government has heard a lot of valid and resourceful recommendations that the government felt should be considered.

He said the government will work in close collaboration with the groups in the coming days, from the other side of the house to see that the bill is thoroughly looked into before any deliberations on it can continue.

Following yesterday’s Question and Answer session, Parliament started its debates into the Constitution (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) Bill 2018 only to be adjourned for what has been highlighted as a vital move from both sides of the sake of keeping the bill.

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