Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has outlined his government’s reasons to to delay election until 2024 saying the government does not have any plans to change the term of the Parliament from four years to five years.
In his independence message on Thursday, Sogavare said the government is not proposing to extend the current parliament to five years, but rather to defer the national general election to be held after the 2023 Pacific Games is hosted.
Several independent and professional organizations have already expressed their opposition to the government’s plan to defer Parliament. Amongst them is the Solomon Islands Christian Association, Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industries, TSI and many house of chiefs around the country.
Sogavare used his independence messge to explain his government’s reasons for the extension.
He added the government is only seeking a ‘once-off’ delay in the national general election to be held after the 2023 Pacific Games which is scheduled between 19 November 2023 and 2nd December 2023
Sogavare further stated that the deferral of the national general election to be held after the 2023 Pacific Games will still require a Constitutional Amendment to allow it to be deferred.
It is public knowledge that the government currently has the 2/3 majority required to amend the constitution.
Sogvare said the Bill that will be tabled in Parliament on this subject will only be seeking a Constitutional Amendment for a ‘Once-Off’ deferral of the national general election to be held after the 2023 Pacific Games.
The Opposition and Independent MPs in Parliament had already expressed their opposition and will not support the bill.
Sogavare said one of the reasons for the deferral of the national general elections, “we simply do not have enough funds to conduct two high-priority, major, and costly events in the same year – the 2023 Pacific Games and the National General Elections.”
He said the 2023 Pacific Games will cost between 400 – 450 million dollars to deliver in 2023.
The PM said the National Hosting Authority for the 2023 Pacific Games had sought to shift the games to 2024. However, it was unsuccessful because 2024 is the Olympic year and the Olympic Charter prohibits the convening of any sporting events at regional and international levels during the Olympic year.