Political Party Crisis

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National Parliament of Solomon Islands
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Lawmakers’ oversight plunges nation into a partyless state

By Alfred Sasako

A serious oversight or ignorance of the new Electoral Act by our Members of Parliament has plunged the nation into a political party crisis.

The oversight, reportedly discovered by prominent private lawyer, Andrew Radclyffe, has in effect wiped out all the political parties registered under the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.

“Section 143(6) of the Electoral Act 2018 was kept in when Parliament recently passed the Act. This section repeals Part 2 of the Political Parties Integrity (PPI) Act which establishes the PPI Commission.

“In effect, there remains no PPI Commission and Registrar which means no body exists to register political parties.”

“It also means that all political parties registered under the PPI Act 2014 are no longer in existence,” some said yesterday.

Social media commentators said the Government needed to bring a short amendment to the new Electoral Act to remedy the situation or it will affect the coming elections as far as political parties are concerned.

“It has three weeks to do that or we are back to square one in terms of political party development in this country,” they said.

Parliament will be dissolved on 17 December 2018, in preparation for the national general election due in the second week of March next year.

Commentators also pointed out that the oversight was the result of a “rushed job,” adding Members of Parliament should not rush into passing important Bill so close to the dissolution of Parliament.

“They should not rush passing such important Bill close to dissolution of Parliament. If they miss something substantive but the House has already dissolved, who will fix it?” one commentator said.

“(It’s) plain old common sense. Now it has come to pass but luckily it was spotted before the House dissolves. Just imagine the confusion and mayhem this would cause had this not been noticed,” the commentator said.

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