THREE PARTIES MERGE TO CONTEST SOLOMON ISLANDS ELECTION

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (August 24, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Three major political parties in Solomon Islands have merged to contest the upcoming general elections in December.

As Radio Australia correspondent Dorothy Wickham reports, the new Solomon Islands Alliance for Change Party has introduced its campaign platform in the capital, Honiara.

"The party which promises to clean up government finances and steer it back to economic recovery includes two former prime ministers, Bartholomew Ulufa’alu and Francis Billy Hilly.

"The Solomon Islands Alliance for Change Party includes most of the ousted former Ulufa’alu government ministers and backbenchers. It is made up of the Liberal United, Labour and Alliance parties.

"The party is promising to redirect government towards a path of economic and social recovery since the two-year old ethnic crisis.

"The party says its record stands for itself in performance under the previous leadership of Mr. Ulufa’alu, who was forced out of office by the coup last year.

"Two months ago, the party invited applications from intending candidates for endorsement. However, it is still to reveal how many candidates will be contesting under its flag.

"Dorothy Wickham, Radio Australia, Honiara."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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