Solomon Islands estimated 400,000 registered voters will go to the poll on Wednesday 17th April this year.

The date was approved by a recent meeting of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission [SIEC], it was confirmed.

According to the timetable for electioneering activities, believed to have been sent to Government House, the Governor General is due to make the declaration for the election day on 20 February – just two and a half weeks from now.

Under the law, the Governor-General must schedule a general election to take place within four months of the dissolution of parliament. The 11th Parliament was dissolved on 31st December 2023.

Accordingly, the nomination period commences the day after the announcement of the election date and concludes 42 days before the poll. The period for campaigning begins on the day of the proclamation of the polling date and ceases the day before the election, according to published reports.

Nomination fees to contest the election remain at $5,000(US$601) per candidate. Nomination fees for the provincial elections are $2,500(US$300) to be on par with the Honiara City Council nomination fees.

In 2019, a total of 359,522 Solomon Islanders registered to vote, an increase of 72,000 voters compared to the 2014 elections. Newer registrants have raised the number over and above the 2019 figures.

In terms of candidates, a total of 332 contested the 2019 election – 171 were affiliates of a party and 162 contested the elections as Independents. Thirteen parties competed.

The trend for women candidates is expected to remain unchanged. In 2019, there were only 26 female candidates, although the number of female voters has usually been equaled to the male voters.

Although many women and men would have liked to contest the 2024 national general elections, it appears the nation’s economic downturn has dampened their enthusiasm.

This may mean fewer candidates of both genders will contest this year’s election.

Meanwhile, election voter lists are awaiting the approval of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) for printing and distribution for public viewing.

This was revealed during the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission’s (SIEC’s) talkback show on the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday.

Chief Electoral Officer Jasper Highwood Anisi said the lists need to get approval from the commission before it will be released to the public for viewing and accessing.

“The news is the lists are ready.

“The final job for the voter lists has been done. Phase three is completed and sometimes this week, we will release the lists.

“The lists need to get approval from the commission. The commission will approve the lists and they will be released for public viewing and access.”

Anisi said one way of accessing the lists is to pay a small amount of fee to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT).

“The lists are free but if you want to access them anytime soon, you have to pay a small amount of fee [to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury].”

Anisi added that the Governor General will make the proclamation of the election date on 20 February and the country should have an election on 17 April.

“That is the plan for the 2024 joint elections preparation timeline,” he said.
The SIEC team will pin up the voter lists next to the polling stations in the country’s 50 constituencies.

Solomon Islands now is three months away from the first joint elections to be held in the country since independence on 7 July 1978.

The next Parliament will be the 12th Parliament since independence.