SIEC admits error

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Political Parties Integrity Commission was supposed not to be removed

By Gary Hatigeva

THE current status of the Political Parties Integrity Commission was an error. This was confirmed by the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission Office (SIECO).

The error as highlighted was noted, as questions were raised surrounding the legitimacy of the Political Parties Commission. This was after it was suggested to have been removed following the repealing of Part 2 of the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014, which established it (Party Commission).

“Section 143(6) in the Electoral Act 2018 clearly notes that Part 2 of the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014 was repealed”.

Following the revealed error, a lot were directed at both the Attorney General’s Chamber and the SIEC for what was widely described as a serious oversight on their parts.

While critics were high, there were also strong recommendations for the government through the responsible bodies, to quickly bring in an amendment bill to reintroduce the repealed parts of the PPI Act, to give legitimate status on the Party Commission, fearing next year’s election could be affected if the matter remains.

But a follow up with SIEC yesterday revealed that the matter raised was justifiable, admitting that it was indeed an error.

“SIEC would like to clarify that it is an error. The Electoral Bill was amended at the Committee stage of its passage through parliament, and the decision was taken not to replace the Political Parties Commission,” SIEC officials explained.

Meanwhile, on the basis of suggestions that the error was intentional, SIEC clarified it was not as the section responsible for ‘the repeal of Part 2 of the PPI Act’ was supposed to be deleted in the committee stage to allow for the continued existence of the Part Commission, but unfortunately noted that it was overlooked.

The SI Electoral Commission further clarified that the error was identified and following its detection, it was rectified through an Amendment Bill, which is expected before the dissolution of the house.

However, due to what was termed as an unforced error, officials told Island Sun that the SI Electoral Commission is now putting together the amendment bill for the error, and is expected to be tabled when Parliament resumes.

SIEC officials then explained that the bill, which will be presented as the “Electoral Bill (Amendment) Bill 2018”, looks to amend Section 143(6) of the Electoral Act 2018, to correct the highlighted error.

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