No date yet for Gizo-Kolombangara by-election

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BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

GIZO-Kolombangara by-election date will be set if the executive government decides for it to take place said the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

PS George Palua said this in response to Island Sun queries on behalf of Gizo-Kolombangara constituents questioning when they will make the announcement of the by-election date.

Under their Constitution rights, Gizo-Kolombangara constituents say that they must have a by-election to have an elected Member of Parliament representing their constituency.

“It is very important that we do not miss out from budget allocation and other important issues that should be presented at Parliament like all other constituencies,” said a constituent Mr Russell Pitubangara of Vuvukihi, South Kolombangara.

“In order for this to happen, we need our duly elected MP. A year without an elected National Government MP is unconstitutional and unfair for the people of Gizo-Kolombangara.

“Further to this call by the end of this month, if nothing happens then we will seek the Court to clarify if our wish is under the law.”

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However according to PS Palua, when it comes to Gizo-Kolombangara Constituency’s case apart from Western and Choiseul Provinces Ward elections set to take place this year, it is the Executive Government that will determine a by-election to take place. But all depends on the new voter’s registration list to be available around March 3 this year as well as budget.

“If the National Government say that a by-election will take place then it should be around April or May,” said the PS.

“We have plotted the idea to the Government to see whether or not they are planning for a by-election. If it is approved then we can recommend for the Electoral Commission, Western and Choiseul Provincial Governments to hold both elections for the Provincial Government Wards and Gizo-Kolombangara Constituency at the same time.

“But then if we are to do this then we have to make good awareness for the people of Gizo- Kolombangara Constituency that they will be doing two votes.”

The PS said it will cost within $2 Million ($1.6 Million) for a bye-election.

On budget allocations and issues for the Constituency from the National Government despite not having an MP, PS Palua said that a Constituency’s Constitution Development Officer (CDO) is always in the position to receive from the Ministry of Rural Development and so for constituents.

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