Concurrent Elections Suggested For Solomon

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Combined national, provincial polls would cut costs: premier

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 6, 2013) – A prominent provincial premier says national and provincial elections in the Solomon Islands should be held concurrently to save costs.

Choiseul premier Jackson Kiloe offered the suggestion as his province prepares to go to the polls in September.

"Would it make a lot of sense and save a lot of dollars if all the provincial elections (including Honiara city elections) and the national general elections are harmonized and held all at once?" he asked.

"Currently elections for these different levels of governments are governed under varying legislations and under different ministries and commissions. Why not make them all come under the Electoral Commission?

"If the laws do not allow this, why can’t we amend those laws? That is why we have a national Parliament," he said.

Mr. Kiloe said the nation could save a whole heap of money and headache if it does that.

"We are so concerned about wise utilization of resources, yet here is a classic example of wasteful use of resources. Money saved from this could be used elsewhere in providing better services and infrastructures for our beloved people of this nation.

"Besides, if all elections are held all at once every four years, our people could be freed from electioneering and political campaigning that can be so deafening all year round. They only get a dose of it once every four years."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Provincial Government is conducting voter registrations for Choiseul and Western provinces this week.

Mr. Kiloe said this exercise would cost the national government thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

"The provincial elections being proposed for September would cost even more. While this is taking place preparations are now underway to commence the National Voters Registration for the National General elections next year.

"The registration process may commence as early as next month. This would cost the nation hundreds of millions of dollars.

"In the case of Choiseul and Western, even though the voters’ registration is currently being revised, it would not be used for the national elections, and a new one will have to be done. Millions of dollars will be spent again," Mr. Kiloe said.

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