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2 claim premier’s post in Western Province

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Former Premier Gina
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Ousted Western Province Premier David Gina insists that he’s still the Premier arguing that the election of a new premier today in Gizo was illegal.

Gina’s spokesman told SBMOnline today that he’s still the premier.

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18 WP Provincial Members who were opposed to Gina elected new premier Chris Mesepitu in the Western capital today. Gina and his eight supporters did not show up.

But speaking exclusively to SBMOnline tonight, Mesepitu said: “I am now the elected Premier of the Western Province.”

He said there was nothing illegal about his election as they had followed every step of a high court order that allowed for the process— including his election.

“It was a long process but finally I am now elected as the Premier of the Western Province,” he said from Gizo tonight.

Following a high court order, a meeting was held and Gina was voted out through a Motion of No Confidence in a Provincial Assembly meeting on Monday.

The court order stated that the Speaker’s decision to delay the sitting of the assembly was not right, as a result 18 Members of the Western Provincial Assembly convened the Provincial Assembly Meeting, which was gazetted by the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), Rollen Seleso. The meeting that was originally to be held on the 11th of November was later ordered to be held on the 29th of November by the courts.

Solomon Star reported that it was during that meeting (29 November) that the motion was moved by the Provincial Member for Ward 2 of Inner-Shortland Islands and later put to a vote. Gina as well as eight (8) Executive members were not present during the meeting, which however did not have any effect on the tabled motion and it was allowed to continue.

Aside from one member abstaining to make a vote out of the 18 who attended the assembly, 17 other present casted a clear ‘yes’ to the motion that came up against no dispute due to 8 absentees and therefore was granted after its due process of the Motion.

A spokesman for Gina told SBMOnline that the election was illegal as there is still a high court case challenge on this matter before the courts.

Mesepitu said he is only waiting for his election result to be gazetted which will be done tomorrow then he will take up the premier’s office.

BACKGROUND

Terence Ziru of Solomon Star Gizo reported that the Motion of No Confidence voted against the Premier of Western Province on Monday may possibly be deemed null if a pending court decision is made, and in turn would work against the WP Assembly (WPA) having been convened. This followed a court application submitted to the High Court after a notice circulated by the Office of the Speaker on Saturday the 27th of November was not adhered to by 18 members of the Western Assembly.

The circulated notice addressed to all Provincial Members of the WPA stated that due to a court application submitted by the Minister of Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) to the High Court, and the WPA meeting should not be allowed to convene until further notice.

It stated that the Minister of MPGIS was ‘seeking an order to set aside the Court Orders and, for the Minister to make a new ministerial order for the Assembly meeting.’

The notice continued to say that the Court’s ruling on the Minister’s application to set aside was not yet received by the office of the Western Province Assembly Speaker due to the public disorder and disturbance in Honiara on Wednesday 24th November.

The circumstances caused the High Court to close its doors and the ruling on the Minister’s application could not delivered at 2pm on Wednesday – 24th of November 2021.

Because of this it was explained that if the assembly meeting convened on Monday the 29th, would be seen as acting subjudice considering the court ruling on the Minister’s application was yet to be delivered.

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