Parliament passes bill to defer provincial elections

Solomon Islands Parliament House

The Provincial Government Amendment Bill 2017, which changes the time limit for deferring the election of a Provincial Assembly, passed in Parliament.

The amendment to Section 9 of the 2014 Provincial Government (Amendment) Act extends the time limit from 60 days to 12 months.

During the bill’s committee stage and third reading in Parliament today before its passage, Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening Nestor Giro said the billĀ is necessary to allow voter registration to take place prior to the provincial elections in Choiseul and Western provinces this year.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Minister Giro said voter registration for the two provinces has not happened due to the development of electoral reforms and the introduction of new electoral systems.

“This should allow the minister and responsible authorities, including the provincial government and the Ministry of Home Affairs, more convenient time to plan properly and prepare for the electoral process,” Minister Giro said of the bill.

The Western and Choiseul provincial elections were scheduled for this month.

Efforts are being made to align the dates of all provincial elections, and Mr Giro said the bill will help make that happen.

He said, “This bill represents a major leap towards ensuring the fact that democratic rights of our citizens, in terms of provincial elections, are exercised with minimal or little disturbances, and is managed and ascertained in a more effective and transparent manner.”

By Fredrick Kusu

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