Electoral office needs $23.6m for elections: PM

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PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission will need about $23.6 million to conduct elections and by-election this year.

This includes provincial elections in Choiseul and Western provinces and by-elections for West Kwaio and Honiara City Council Vuhokesa ward respectively.

Sogavare told Parliament during the Committee of Supply in the 2022 Appropriation Bill that Government will seek contingent warrant to get Commission to do what is mandated of them by the constitution.

According to Electoral Commission, plans to hold the West Kwaio by-election has been in place since last year and the Electoral Office has ever since prepared, however factors affecting the delay have been beyond the Commission’s control.

The budget implications brought by this pandemic covid-19 across all sectors has sheared electoral budgets from the government even further.

Funding and budget cuts were some of the setbacks to implementations of these plans.

Amongst these outstanding electoral events, are voter registration update for Choiseul and Western provinces and their subsequent provincial assemblies’ elections.

At the moment, the Electoral Commission is implementing HCC Vuhokesa ward by-election, in Central Honiara Constituency with shared cost from Council funds. 

Electoral commission has its own activity calendar within its four-year electoral cycle of which activities are being planned and budgeted for accordingly.