23 Apr 2019

Eligibility of Solomons prime ministerial candidate in question

6:59 pm on 23 April 2019

The eligibility of Solomon Islands prime ministerial candidate Manasseh Sogavare has been called into question by rival candidate Matthew Wale.

Solomon Islands' prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Solomon Islands' prime minister Manasseh Sogavare. Photo: Supplied

The claim that Mr Sogavare is not eligible to contest the prime minister's post is based on his late registration of his political party, which was done after the National General Elections earlier this month.

Manasseh Sogavare contested the national election as an independent candidate.

His accuser Matthew Wale is the only other prime ministerial candidate but even if Mr Sogavare were disqualified he would still need to lobby the support of the MPs supporting Mr Sogavare in order to secure the prime ministership.

According to Government House the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui has full discretion over the running of the election of the prime minister and he has said he will make his decision on Manasseh Sogavare's eligibility known in parliament tomorrow ahead of the vote.

The prime minister's election is done by secret ballot and in order to win candidates must secure at least 26 of the 50 votes in the house.

Tight controls for Solomons PM election

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands police have advised the public that there will be tight controls in place around parliament for tomorrow's election of the prime minister.

The police commissioner Matthew Varley says a total of 700 officers will be involved in the operation to ensure a trouble-free process.

The 2006 election was marred by rioting but Mr Varley said he expected the day to pass peacefully.

"We have no significant intelligence that concerns me that there is going to be any major disturbance, but that said we are not take it easily and we are making sure we are putting all available preparations in place and we are really calling out on communities to help us out there as well."

Matthew Varley said there will be checkpoints around parliament to make sure no weapons are brought into a crowd situation.

He said a ban on the sale of liquor is now in force until Thursday, while both tomorrow and on Thursday the central market in Honiara will be closed to minimise the chance of large crowds gathering.

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