PROMINENT SOLOMONS BANKER TO REPRESENT MALAITA

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Rick Hou was central bank governor, World Bank advisor

By Eddie Osifelo HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 7, 2010) – Solomon Islander, Rick Hou has won the Small Malaita seat after counting ended last night, the Solomon Star can reveal.

[PIR editor’s note: Hou formerly was the Solomon Islands Central Bank governor before embarking in Washington as a Pacific representative and senior advisor to an executive director on the board of the World Bank. See here.]

But the Returning Officer for the constituency has withheld announcing the results due to pressure from supporters of the runner up candidate William Haomae.

However, a polling agent of Mr. Hou who returned from Afio station to his village at Riverside at 11 pm last night confirmed Mr. Hou is the new Member of Parliament (MP).

Riverside is few minutes by boat from Afio station in the passage dividing Small and Big Malaita.

According to the agent, Mr. Hou polled 1,689, 72 votes difference from Mr. Haomae's 1,617.

Fourteen candidates contested the seat.

The agent said Mr. Hou managed to overtake Mr. Haomae when counting settled at the last polling station of his village at Riverside.

Mr. Haomae reportedly led the race from the start with 900 votes difference from Mr. Hou at wards 21 and 22.

At ward 23, the tide changed for the former Foreign Affairs Minister, after Mr. Hou slowly edged him to gain the victory.

It was a all night celebration for Mr. Hou's supporters and families at Riverside after the news was relayed to them.

The Solomon Star could hear the celebration at the background when speaking to the agent on mobile phone.

Mr. Hou's victory is poised to strengthen the profile of the Solomon Islands Democratic Party, as MPs move to Honiara in the next few days to form the government.

Other members of the party already declared winners are Mathew Wale, Sam Iduri, Stanley Sofu and Peter Tom.

The Party's wing leader, Steve Abana is still waiting for his result in the Fataleka constituency, which is expected today.

Mr. Hou returned to pursue a political career after he resigned his lucrative job with the World Bank in Washington DC this year.

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