5 Nov 2009

Solomons Commission says Kemakeza candidacy was unacceptable

2:48 pm on 5 November 2009

The chairman of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission says Sir Allan Kemakeza should have been disqualified from contesting last week's Savo/Russell by-election.

The by-election saw Sir Allan reclaim the seat he lost when he was sent to prison for six months last year after a conviction for authorising militants to raid a law firm while he was the Prime Minister in 2002.

Before the by-election, the returning officer had accepted the legality of Sir Allan's candidacy.

However the commission chair, Sir Peter Kenilorea, says due to the 12-month suspended sentence for Sir Allan's conviction still being active, he should have been disqualified.

He says by the time they had informed the returning officer, he had already published the candidate list.

"He has no other authority to change that. On the Commission's side, we just recommended to him that whilst he's operating the law, the Electoral Act, the constitution itself disqualified Sir Allan from the very beginning."

Meanwhile, the by-election's four main losing candidates plan to file a petition to the High Court challenging Sir Allan's candidacy.