By EDDIE OSIFELO
THE Government has clarified accusations regarding the deferment of the 2023 National General Elections.
This follows claims that the Government wants to benefit or get money generated from the 17th Pacific Games held between 19 November to 2nd December 2023 and was an influence from outside.
However, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele rejected the claims when contributing to the Constitutional Amendment Bill last week.
The Bill, which is now passed, will give the Sogavare Government an extra seven months in power.
Initially, the term of the 11th Parliament commenced on 15th May 2019 and ends on 19th May 2023.
Manele said this is a pure nonsense and lie.
He said it is not true too on outside influences.
“We do not have any interferences from our partners in terms of the decision the government has taken.
“This claim was subtle and it is a pure lie,” he said.
Manele remined his colleagues not to misinform and mislead our people.
“This Bill is not necessary about extending the life of the 11th Parliament but about deferring for few months so we can successfully host the Pacific Games and prepare well to host the elections.
“I believe this is the rational, legal and appropriate timely amendment Bill initiated by the government,” he added.
A number of Opposition members have stated the Government can host both elections and Pacific Games in same year.
“Even though we have the funds to host both events, we will not be able prepare well given the time constraints and the need to mobilise logistics and train our people.
“It’s not only about hosting both events in the same year. I think the important thing here is hosting them successfully,” he added.
“This will take a lot of time in terms of resource mobilisation, training of our people who will take part in the Games in terms of event organisers, liaison officers and hosting the events in same time.
“There will be number of public holidays and this will affect our students,” he added.
“We need a lot of time in between the two events to prepare well to successfully deliver on the event.
“I think also the need for the new government to settle in if we have the elections next year and prepare for the Games,” he added.
“I think there is short lead time between elections and hosting of the Games in November,” he said.
Parliament has passed the Bill to extend the 11th Parliament to December 31st and elections to be held in April 2024.