The next Prime Minister of Solomon Islands will be a former minister of Public Service.
Member of Parliament for Small Malaita Rick Houenipwela and Member of Parliament for Central Honiara John Moffat Fugui are the nominees for the next Prime Minister, and both can count minister of Public Service as a past appointment.
Private Secretary to Government House Nigel Maezama said Acting Governor General Ajilon Nasiu received the two nominations for Prime Minister by today’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Mr Maezama said Manasseh Sogavare, Freda Tuki, Stanley Festus Sofu and Peter Shanel Agovaka nominated Mr Houenipwela.
Mr Fugui’s nominators were Danny Phillip, Snyder Rini, David Tome, and Douglas Ete.
Minutes after the official confirmation of the two candidates, many citizens announced their support for Mr Houenipwela on social media, including in comments in Forum Solomon Islands International.
Some called Mr Houenipwela the better candidate and said he has qualities that make him capable of leading the next government.
Mr Houenipwela is a seven-year member of Parliament who has been governor of the Central Bank and minister of Finance and Treasury. He is currently chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Prior to entering Parliament, Mr Houenipwela worked for the World Bank in the United States where he was a senior advisor to the executive director.
He is one of few MPs with experience in international agencies.
Mr Houenipwela resigned from the World Bank to contest the election for the Small Malaita Constituency in August 2010.
Since then, he has been a member of the Bills and Legislation Committee and a member of the Public Accounts Committee. He was minister of Public Service from April 2011 to November 2011 and minister of Finance and Treasury from November 2011 to September 2014. He was re-elected to Parliament in November 2014.
Mr Fugui was elected to Parliament for the Central Honiara Constituency in August 2010 and re-elected in November 2014. He served as Deputy Speaker of Parliament from December 2014 to October 2015.
Mr Fugui has been a member of the Environment and Conservation Committee and the Health and Medical Services Committee. He served as minister of Public Service from August to October of this year.
Prior to that appointment, Mr Fugui had been minister of Education and Human Resources Development since October 2015. He also served two previous terms as minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology.
Before he was elected to Parliament, Mr Fugui was secretary to Government Caucus in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2008.
The election for Prime Minister will be held in Parliament next Wednesday.