Home News Peoples’ survey shows strong opposition to extension of Parliament

Peoples’ survey shows strong opposition to extension of Parliament

1346
0
National Parliament of Solomon Islands
Advertisement

A peoples’ survey carried by Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) has found strong disagreement to government’s proposal to extend Parliament to five years.

The survey was carried out from March 16th – 1st April 2022.

“It is important to note that this is the citizens of Solomon Islands speaking to their government, their elected representatives and not Transparency Solomon Islands,” TSI says today.

Advertisement

Here are the key findings:

  • One the idea of extending the parliament term from 4 years to 5 years, 83% of the respondents [1,248] strongly disagree. On Facebook 94% of the respondents [930] strongly disagree with any extension of parliament.
  • On SPG23 69% of the respondents strongly disagree that the games are not a good enough reason to deny people their democratic right.
  • On the rationale of inadequate or lack of resources to host two big events within the same year, 72% of the respondents strongly disagree with this being a valid reason for the proposed extension of parliament, even if it is just for the 11th Parliament only.
  • On the rationale of giving time to Executive Governments to implement their policies 71% of the respondents strongly disagreed with this being a valid reason for the proposed extension of parliament term nor for the 11th It is an excuse and irrelevant.
  • 87% of the respondents strongly disagree that DCGA should remain in power for longer than the 4 years prescribed by the Constitution.

 

Meanwhile, below is the full article from TSI

CITIZENS SPEAKING – THE PROPOSED EXTENSION OF PARLIAMENT TERM FROM FOUR TO FIVE YEARS

KEY FINDINGS OF PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY March 16th – 1st April 2022

Transparency Solomon Islands conducted a public survey on the opinions and views of the citizens of this country on the proposed extension of the parliament term from four (4) years to five (5) years. The interviews were by phone, face to face and online reaching 1,248 respondents. On Facebook group pages 930 respondents were reached. A total of 2,178 respondents participated in the survey in total.

Of the 1,248 respondents in the survey 42% were female, and 58% male.  On age, 9% of the respondents are age groups 13-18 years (children), 50% are age group 19-34years (Youth), and 41% are age group 34+ years (adults).

The Facebook 930 respondents were asked only one question – whether they strongly agree, strongly disagree, neither agree nor disagree with the proposed extension of the parliament term from four (4) to five (5) years. Gender and age information were not collected for these respondents. Ninety four percent [94%] of the respondents strongly disagree with the proposed extension of parliament term from 4years to 5 years.

The key findings of this survey are presented in the report titled THE PROPOSED EXTENSION OF PARLIAMENT TERM FROM FOUR TO FIVE YEARS – CITIZENS SPEAKING – PERCEPTION, OBSERVATIONS, EXPERIENCES, OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS -March 16th – 1st April 2022.  It is important to note that this is the citizens of Solomon Islands speaking to their government, their elected representatives and not Transparency Solomon Islands. This report was launched 19th June 2022 by the Chairman of Transparency Solomon Islands Mr Frank Paulsen followed by panelists from the Youths for Democracy Movement sharing their views as to why they do not support the proposed extension nor the deferment of the National General Election.

In this article Transparency Solomon Islands shares key findings of citizens responses on the rationales given by the Executive Government [DCGA] for the proposed extension.

The survey also looked into a limited number of areas most commonly raised in public debate, alleged as the hidden agenda for the policy, including consultation, awareness, source of information, the Executive Government’s performance on selected programmes, Parliament/Government’s legislature function, and views on the DCGA as the Executive Government exercising government’s official power staying in power for longer than 4 years.  The key findings on these will be covered in subsequent articles.

Executive Government’s Rationale for the proposed Extension of Parliament Term.

One the idea of extending the parliament term from 4 years to 5 years, 83% of the respondents [1,248]  strongly disagree. On Facebook 94% of the respondents [930] strongly disagree with any extension of parliament. It is the citizens view that such a policy is unacceptable and undesirable. The rationales given for the proposed change are well within the administrative power and authority of the Executive Government (DCGA) to change, and    therefore unconvincing nor justifiable.

On SPG23 69% of the respondents strongly disagree that the games are not a good enough reason to deny people their democratic right. The Executive Government controls the budget and has the Executive power to allocate resources budgeting to run the two events in 2023. The amendment of the Constitution the Supreme Law of Solomon Islands for a games event is uncalled for.  The Executive Government knew at the time of bidding for the hosting of the SPG23 that the National General Elections (NGE) is also due in 2023.  That the National General Elections is run every four years is common knowledge and known to all.

On the rationale of inadequate or lack of resources to host two big events within the same year, 72% of the respondents strongly disagree with this being a valid reason for the proposed extension of parliament, even if it is just for the 11th Parliament only.   What this shows is an Executive Government that lacks forward planning and has intentionally not budgeted for both to take place 2023.  It has failed the people of Solomon Islands in its roles and responsibilities to ensuring people are accorded their democratic right to go to the polls as specified in the Constitution.

On the rationale of giving time to Executive Governments to implement their policies 71% of the respondents strongly disagreed with this being a valid reason for the proposed extension of parliament term nor for the 11th Parliament. It is an excuse and irrelevant. The DCGA government has not provided any convincing comparative analysis nor convincing argument that time alone is responsible for non-performance of successive governments from year 2020 to date. It is their view that bad/weak/poor leadership, weak/poor governance, weak/poor management, misuse and abuse of political executive power, public funds, and corruption in both the public sector and private sector etc. are more than likely responsible for non-performance of governments since 2020 to date.  To amend the Constitution for this reason will set a bad precedent, one that can be abused time and again, denying people the right to exercise their democratic right more frequently. It will create a mechanism for anarchy and dictatorship resulting in the death of democracy.

More importantly, people argue that extending the parliament for this reason is objectionable.  It sets a very bad precedent. What if the next government decides that 5 years is not enough and want to change it to 10 years? It denies people of their democratic rights to go to the polls frequently holding government to account.  The majority of respondents rejected this rationale for the amending of the Constitution to provide for the proposed extension of parliament term from 4 to 5 years. Solomon Islands is not ready for a 5-year parliament term just yet.

On Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) not having a plan to run the election 2023,  74% of the respondents rejected this as a valid reason for the extension.  The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has run 11 National General Elections so far and knows that the NGE falls in the year 2023.  As such the Executive Government is responsible for resourcing SIEC towards the preparation and running of the National General Election. Again, it is an area that is within the power of the Executive Government to change – not a good excuse. Extension is not the solution, resourcing, strategic planning, and thinking are. The election must be held, they argued, and government should come up with options and resources for making this possible come 2023.

On the question of DCGA remaining in power for longer than the 4 years prescribed in the Constitution, 87% of the respondents strongly disagree that DCGA should remain in power for longer than the 4 years prescribed by the Constitution. It is the view of the citizens of Solomon Islands that DCGA government is under the remote control of foreign power and unscrupulous, corrupt foreign businesspeople, and political alliances within the country.

The people of Solomon Islands through the election, mandated their representative to represent them for a 4 year period only. The issue of representation is a very important one and one that must be honoured. DCGA government must seek the voters consent on this and the mandate to exercise government official power. Citizens right’s on an important matter as this cannot be  hijacked under the abuse and misuse of representation.  Holding the National General Election is the only avenue [to be continued].

//end//

 

What you think?