An outspoken former provincial leader in Solomon Islands has been declared unfit for office due to his anti-China stance while in the top job.
The former Malaita Premier Daniel Suidani rebelled against the national government's switch in diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019 and maintained his opposition throughout his tenure as head of one of the most populous and largest provinces on the island.
Suidani survived two motions of no confidence against his leadership but lost to a third motion this year.
His supporters claim all three were orchestrated and bank-rolled by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's administration - an accusation Honiara has denied.
In the latest development, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) has reported that Daniel Suidani has been disqualified from the Malaita Provincial Assembly by the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Rollen Seleso.
"An executive of a provincial assembly is an agent of the national government and the provincial government is included in the concept of the crown and therefore must always abide by the decisions of the national government," Minister Seleso said.
The Speaker of the Malaita Provincial Assembly has been advised to officially declare Suidani's seat in ward 5 of Baegu-West Fataleka vacant in accordance with the Provincial Government Act.
Suidani to challenge decision
Reasons for Suidani's disqualification were outlined in a letter dated March 20.
According to the SIBC, the first reason was his ongoing refusal to recognise the One China Policy, while the second accused Suidani of colluding with Taiwan in defiance of the sovereign decision of the national government to recognise the One China Policy.
Seleso said in Solomon Islands, the national government has a much greater role in governing the country and provincial governments have less autonomy.
"The relationship between the provincial and governments is more hierarchical with the national government exercising greater control over all provincial governments," he said.
Rollen Seleso also advised Daniel Suidani of his right to petition the High Court of Solomon Islands to seek relief against the declaration.
In response, Suidani said he refused to be cowed by what he termed "abuse of the law" and said he would challenge the decision.
"I believe since in the past the courts have been perceived to be robust. It will be shown in the end that the Minister acted outside of its (sic) powers and abused his office," he said.
Suidani said that he would continue to stand against the abuse of the state by the minister who he said thinks he can use the law to fulfil the government's "reckless political agenda".
"This abuse will be exposed for the world to see for themselves," he added.