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Sogavare’s political integrity questioned
5:18 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2019, Solomon Islands

People are questioning the political integrity of the Our Party Leader and now the candidate for the Prime Minister’s post, from the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA), Manasseh Sogavare.
 
Sogavare’s candidacy was questioned after it was revealed that his candidacy was based on the fact that his political party, Our Party, commands the largest number of seats in the DCGA coalition group and as such entitled to have its Wing leader nominated as the group’s candidate for Prime Minister.
 
Information at hand confirms that Our Party was only registered after the 2019 General elections, which means that it was not a party that contested in the elections.
 
As a result Sogavare ran as an independent candidate and only became Wing Leader of Our Party after the elections, and the same was also noted for the MP members of his Party whom only became members of Our party after the elections.
 
An interview with a number of legal experts noted that their reading of the PPI Act seems to suggest that, only political parties that had contested the 2019 General election are entitled to nominate candidates for the post of Prime Minister.
 
One of them stressed that this reading of the PPI Act is based on a few important points that needs to be considered and thus makes Sogavare’s candidacy highly questionable.
 
“Firstly, in order for a political party to contest any General election, it must be registered. In the context of the 2019 General election therefore it is clear that Our party was not registered as such, it cannot therefore benefit from the process leading to the election of a new Prime Minister as a political party that contested that election.
 
Secondly, the reference to, Wing Leader for purposes of the PPI Act is perhaps intended to mean, the leader of a political party that contested an election and not any party which did not contest an election which was the case for Our Party. If this is correct then again, Sogavare cannot fall under the expression Wing Leader under the PPI Act for he contested as an independent candidate and only became Wing Leader of Our party after the election.
 
“Thirdly, the expression, party with the largest number of seats also appears to mean, seats won by a political party in an election and not a collection of MPs that joined a political party that got registered after an election which again is the case with Our party. Simply put, the largest number of seats in Our party which Sogavare relied on to secure his nomination was derived after the election and not from a list of candidates endorsed by Our party for the 2019 General election.
 
“If these views are correct then there is something legally wrong with Sogavare’s candidacy. His show of disregard towards the electoral laws, especially, more specifically, the political parties integrity act 2014, has also got people questioning his moral stance as far as the laws of this country, are concerned,” shared one of the lawyers who asked not to be named.
 
He said upon the above views and looking back, if the argument that Our Party was not entitled in law to nominate  Sogavare, then the other major political in the DCGA group, Kadere Party had been robbed of its right to put forward their Wing leader as their nominated candidate for the DCGA group.
 
Following this year’s national general elections, the Solomon Islands Democratic Party and Kadere Party locked the number of their MPs at eight each, which were the only parties with the highest numbers.
 
According to these numbers, the MP for West Are’are as the Wing Leader for Kadere party should have been the candidate for the DCGA group.
 
If public opinion is correct then Sogavare clearly hijacked the process to serve himself to the disadvantage of Kadere Party.
 
As it stands, the two camps have now come out with their official coalition partnerships, and the grand coalition group has fulfilled the application and the spirit of the PPI Act by nominating its candidate, which comes from the party with the highest numbers.
 
People are therefore asking whether the Kadere Party had actually allowed what they described as an uncalled-for game on them by the Our Part Leader or were they just being ignorant of the fact that they were being used for the second time.

SOURCE: ISLAND SUN/PACNEWS


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