Parliament passes Electoral Amendment Bill 2018

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National Parliament of Solomon Islands
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Reintroduces existence status of Political Parties Integrity Commission

By Gary Hatigeva

THE Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 to set corrections on the oversight that resulted in the repealing of Part 2 in the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014, made a swift run through parliament, after it was put down into parliamentary procedures, and received overwhelming support of the house.

With the urgency of the Bill and limited time at hand, the Minister of Home Affairs, Ishmael Avui who is responsible, had seek to suspend standing order 48(5)b, which allows for a bill to be debated three clear days after it went through its second reading.

The speaker allowed for the debates on the second reading to go ahead in accordance to standing order 81 through the approval of members and brief speeches were made regarding the bill.

Objectively, Minister Avui explained that the bill is to rectify the error and announced that Part 2 of the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014, which relates to the Political Parties Commission, shall effectively remain.

“I wish to inform this house that due to an oversight, an error is contained in the electoral act 2018.

“At the beginning the electoral act 2018 was intended to replace the PPIC with the electoral commission and a number of amendments were made to the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014 to effect that.

“The Electoral Bill 2018 however was amended in committee of its passage to parliament and the decision was taken not to replace the Political Parties Integrity Commission (PPIC) with the Electoral Commission,” the Minister explained.

He revealed that one amendment to the PPI Act 2014 was not deleted in committee, which he said it should have been, and that was for the repealing of part 2 of the PPI Act.

He reiterated that the electoral Amendment Bill 2018 shall rectify the error by repealing part 2 as of the date the Electoral Act 2018 received assent.

“Therefore, in effect part 2 will be taken to have never been repealed. The electoral amendment bill 2018 will amend the electoral act 2018 by deleting section 143(6),” the Home Affairs Minister added.

With great support from members of both sides of the house, and acknowledgements given to the Minister of Home Affairs for the quick tabling of the amendment bill, the government was however blamed for what was highlighted as negligence on their part through the legal drafts office within the Attorney Generals Chamber.

There was the argument that if it was not for those who pointed out the error, elections could have been in serious legal issues, which could also affect the status of the election process of the Prime Minister.

There were finger pointing on the floor as to who was supposed to take the blame, but the Minister responsible when making his statement of reply, acknowledged the points that were raised, and that added that the matter was an unintentional oversight from the government.


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