Balance but not steady

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Choiseul’s Non-Executive members having their Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) increased to nine (9) reported earlier this week in their ‘Minister Resignation saga’ have lost another MPA Hon Ronald Zakele, who switched over to the Premier Hon Watson Qoloni led Executive Government yesterday. Pictured here is after the swearing in ceremony of the MPA for Katario Ward 13, Northeast Choiseul, Hon Zakele as the new Minister for ‘Natural Resources’ in the Choiseul Provincial Assembly. FRONT ROW L-R, Hon Speaker Greg Sokeni, Hon Premier Watson Qoloni, Hon Ronald Zakele (New Minister), Commission of Oath Mr David.J.Hiru, and Choiseul Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Superintendent Vincent Eria. Back row; Hon Movete.Tupou. Kabiri, DPS Nelson Kere, Hon Greg.W. Pitabosi, Hon Micheal Ngarakana. PHOTO SUPPLIED
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Choiseul government resumes equal number with non-executive following a switch, but remains open to leadership challenge

BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

CHOISEUL provincial government is once again on level footing with the non-executive after a member of the latter cross floors to join Premier Qoloni’s executive.

On Monday this week, a prominent member of the executive Paul Telovae left Premier Watson Qoloni’s government and joined the non-executive, causing Premier Qoloni to rule with a 9-7 minority.

Talks of a possible move to oust Qoloni was hanging in the air.

However, yesterday Qoloni was given the lifeline by MPA for Katario Ward 13 at Northeast Choiseul, Ronald Zakele, when he left the non-executive.

This means that both the Executive and Non-Executive are back on equal numbers of 8-8 members each, giving instability and alleged heavy lobbying between the two political sides.

According to Choiseul Assembly insiders, having the number of equal members sees the Executive having a chance yet to lobby another member from the Non-Executive to join them to secure their position. But if the Executive does not manage reaching the time of electing a new Deputy Speaker then the Non-Executive side can still have a chance to get through with a ‘Motion of no confidence’.

Mr Zakele yesterday made the switch to the Executive and was also sworn in as the new Minister for ‘Natural Resources’ around 11am.

This comes after the former Choiseul Executive Government Provincial Minister for Natural Resources Mr Telovae tendered his resignation on Monday this week, reasoning ‘lack of confidence’ in their leadership.

Confirming to Island Sun the MPA’s switch over to the Executive yesterday were Choiseul Province Provincial Clerk, Christopher Makoni, and Zakele himself via phone.

“Though the government Executive is again intact, it is not yet stable as both the Executive and Non-Executive still have eight members each on both sides,” said Makoni.

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The provincial Clerk elaborated that despite the earlier instability caused to the Executive after seeing the former Minister resigning, Premier Qoloni on the other hand accepted the MPA’s decision.

It is understood that the former Deputy Speaker of Choiseul Province Josiah Vanabachu resigned this month July 6 due to also losing confidence in their current Executive government, a new election for a Deputy Speaker is also expected at the Choiseul Assembly.

On the Deputy Speaker case, Provincial Clerk Makoni said they will go through process on the next Assembly meeting before a new election will take place.

“Consultations between the Speaker and Premier will take place before a meeting will be convened. I am not sure when but under our schedule, it looks like it might be later in September,” said Makoni.

Meanwhile, it is said that the outgoing Deputy Speaker is now on the move to submit a letter to the Provincial Speaker Greg Sokeni in order to have a quick meeting purposely to elect a new Deputy Speaker.

“At the same time the former Deputy Speaker Josiah Vanabachu will be submitting a motion of no Confidence against the Premier, reasoning of losing confidence in leadership,” said report.

“But then if one Non-Executive MPA end up switching to the Executive in coming hours then the ‘motion of no confidence’ strategy will not be effective.”

At this stage, Vanabachu is said leading the Non-Executive side in their political quest.

Choiseul Province has 16 provincial Assembly Wards.

From political views, allegation has it too that there might be even influence from outside in Choiseul Province current Provincial Assembly issue. And, that is to turn over the current Executive Government under Premier Qoloni.

When this paper on Monday, before Telovae’s switch to the Non-Executive, asked Premier Qoloni if such ‘resignation’ really occurred,  he said ‘what more can be said as the Non-Executive will have the number then in favour of 9-7 to lead the province’.

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