‘Existence of Political Parties Commission questioned, notably, due to repealed Part 2 of PPI Act 2014’
By Gary Hatigeva
LEGAL Professionals have questioned the existence of the Political Parties Commission (PPC). Most are quite confused whether matters related to Political Parties will still be facilitated, as the section, which established the Commission, was cancelled under the Electoral Act 2018.
Lawyers spoken to, pointed out that this might be overlooked. This is after thoroughly going through the consequential amendments of the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014, highlighted in the new Electoral Act.
As stated in the Electoral Act 2018 Section 143(6), Part Two of the Political Parties Integrity Act, which established the Political Parties Commission, was repealed, and following the end of terms for all Commissioners just before the middle of this year, no further activities were carried out.
Initially, the government had proposed to merge both the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and the Political Parties Commission, with anticipation to repeal both acts that guided their existence and functions.
However, the intent came under heavy criticisms from the Opposition and Independent groups, who then vowed not to vote in favour of the required constitutional amendments that paved way for the now Electoral Act 2018.
Both the government and the groups from the other side of the house held meetings and agreed to maintain the separation of both commissions, and their acts also remained.
During its thorough proceedings in the Committee of the Whole House, before it was put down for its third reading and later passed, amendments were made to certain sections of the PPI Act, removing terms previously used in reference to the old Electoral Act, and replaced with that of the new electoral act.
Relevant sections were amended accordingly, except for the repealing status for Part 2 of the PPI Act, which was never amended or removed during committee proceedings, and this has also got people questioning, whether it was mistakenly overlooked, or it was intentional.
And as it stands now, there remains no Political Parties Commission and Registrar, which meant no legal body exists to facilitate and manage the affairs of political parties, despite the existence of the Political Parties Integrity Act.
This issue has also attracted wide discussions on local online forums, many of which blamed the Legal Draftsperson and the Attorney General’s Chamber, who is said to be responsible as the first place to identify drafting issues.
SIEC has admitted to an error.