–Former DCCG MPs reconcile with Sogavare
By Alfred Sasako
AS the election-day for a new Prime Minister edges closer, a new twist has emerged, throwing an already confused situation into further tailspin.
Amidst reports of MPs moving from one camp to another, United Democratic Party (UDP) MPs from the government and Opposition sides yesterday held a reconciliation, attended by caretaker Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Opposition candidate for the job, Hon Dr John Moffat Fugui.
The lunchtime ceremony was held at Mr Sogavare’s residence at Lungga, according to reports relayed to Island Sun last night.
Reports on how many MPs attended vary.
One report suggests that all 14 UDP Parliamentarians attended, including Mr Sogavare and Mr Fugui. Another report said only four UDP Parliamentarians attended the reconciliation which has raised eyebrows as to what it meant for the new Democratic Alliance Party (DAP) – DCC Government marriage whose prenuptial agreement is still being hammered out.
Some said the reconciliation signalled the regrouping of the UDP not necessarily as a Party but a new alliance in preparation for the 2019 national general election.
UDP has gone through factional in-fighting in recent months, which resulted in the no confidence motion in Mr Sogavare’s leadership last Monday. The Opposition won the vote 27-23.
No one could be reached last night to explain the overall political ramifications of the reconciliation in terms of the election of a new Prime Minister next Wednesday 15th November.
The Government side has downplayed the significance of the reconciliation, saying the new DCC-DAP alliance remains intact in terms of numbers.
“Our number remains at 30. There are talks of at least another four from the other camp joining us,” an insider said.
Senior officials are already at work preparing policy initiatives that would guide the DAP-DCC administration after Wednesday’s vote.
But the Opposition camp said things remained “upbeat” and are looking forward to the vote later this week. As the number stands, the government side has 30 while the Opposition has 20.
With hundreds of thousands of dollars allegedly on offer, the number’s game could change drastically as lobbying intensifies over the next 48 hours.
Parliament is due to meet at 09:30am on Wednesday to elect a new Prime Minister following the ouster of Mr Sogavare on Monday 6th November 2017. The government side has nominated Small Malaita MP Ricky Hou as its candidate for the top job.
The Opposition which camps at the Honiara Hotel has put up Honiara Central MP, Hon Dr John Moffat Fugui as its choice for the $186, 000-a-year job.
Observers said the situation remains volatile and the reconciliation could very well determine the outcome of next Wednesday’s vote.