BY JARED KOLI
The Political Party Integrity Act (PPIA) 2014 is currently under review, and one of the areas under this review is set a time frame for registration of new Political parties before and after the election.
This review of the Act hopes to address gaps within the PPIA that was experienced after the 2014 and 2019 elections.
This is based on the policy of the current government according to Political Party Commission Registrar, Jasper Highwood Anisi.
One of the major loopholes in the Act was in the case of Ownership Unity Responsibility (OUR) Party which registered after the election in 2019 and eventually form the current ruling government.
Mr Anisi admits to Island Sun in an interview yesterday that the legislation failed to address this issue by not having time frame in place to register Political Parties.
He said what OUR Party does after the 2019 national general elections was legal based on the fact that it meets all the legal requirement under the PPIA 2014.
“The only thing is that OUR Party has not participated during the last election period. In order to express to the people (voters) their visions and explain what was under their Party Policy intentions. This allows the voters opportunity to vote on their Policies.
“We want the parties to do that, however this was not foreseen during the initial drafting. Hence we are reacting to it,” Mr Anisi said.
He adds that one of the main objectives under the review is to put in measures such as a timeframe to ensure that political parties are duly registered and able to participate fully during an election period
He said part of the review process, due nationwide consultations will be undertaken, to ensure the voices of our people are being captured as part of this process.
“The Office of the Registrar has forwarded to a caucus paper to the Prime Minister’s Office, which sets out the review of the said Act.
“We want to prepare it before the next election so that the gaps which was experienced in 2014 and 2019 NGE to be addressed,” he said
Mr Anisi however, said politics and governing mechanisms in the country are developing.
He said Solomon Islands cannot be compared to civilized democracies such as Australia and the USA as these democracies have evolved and are over 200 years old.
“We are just 43 years old and we are slowly building our systems and processes, to improve our own democratic political system especially our Political Party systems. “Although we are seen to be reactive, there are also instances where we have demonstrated our own proactivity”.
Anisi said only two countries in the Pacific region have a legislative framework for political parties; they are Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
However, he said PNG’s political party systems is deemed as organic law, as an expansion of their constitution, whereas our political party legislations currently is standalone and has no obvious connection to our country’s Constitution.
In the current review of the PPIA the Political Parties Commission plans to connect the legislation to the constitution through amending Schedule 2 of the Constitution.
“So that the Governor General instead of calling for election, invites the party or coalition with majority numbers to form the executive government”.
“The Court in the case of Matthew Wale vs Governor General, 2019, highlights that “The problem with the PPI Act 2014 is that while it has noble and admirable intentions and objectives in its inception to promote integrity in the development and operations of political parties in the country, it had one fundamental flaw or defect in its enactment. While it sought to determine the process of nomination of a Prime Minister pursuant to the requirements (s) of the PPI Act, it miserably failed to institute a corresponding amendment(s) to the relevant provisions of the Constitution, in particular, Schedule 2.