Two Candidates Vie To Be Solomons Prime Minister

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Veteran Sogavare, newcomer Manele put forward by rival camps

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 8, 2014) – Two candidates will vie for the prime minister’s post next Tuesday.

They are member for East Choiseul, Manasseh Sogavare and Jeremiah Manele of Hongrano/Kia/Havulei in Isabel province.

Rawcliff Ziza, Deputy Private Secretary Government House confirmed this at the close of nomination at 4.30pm, yesterday.

Mr Sogavare, two-time former prime minister, is representing the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC), which is camping at Honiara Hotel.

Mr Manele, a former diplomat, long-serving public servant, and first-term MP, carries the hopes of Solomon Islands People’s Democratic Coalition (SIPDC), based at Mendana Hotel and Iron Bottom Sound.

The Honiara Hotel camp consists mostly of former Opposition members, whilst the Mendana/IBS camps are dominated by MPs in the Lilo led government.

The Honiara Hotel camp submitted their coalition agreement yesterday to the Political Parties Commission.

The Mendana/IBS group is the first to submit their coalition agreement last Friday.

Registrar of Political Parties Commission, Calvin Ziru confirmed receiving both coalition agreements.

He said the coalition agreements are one of the main requirements under the Political Parties Integrity Act that was passed in parliament last year, where parties must fulfill.

In the meantime, Mr Sogavare, who’s now serving his fifth term in parliament, said he hopes to run the government based on collective decision, if he comes into power next week.

This is by consulting his colleagues and stakeholders in every major decision that his new government would undertake.

"The past years has been a period of personal reflection and transformation for me and, like this country have moved on from the issues of the past and looking forward to govern this nation with the total support of my coalition colleagues," Mr Sogavare said.

"We have to put the interests of this nation above our own and policies must benefit not only the few in Honiara but those in the rural areas of Solomon Islands," he said.

Mr Sogavare has claimed the backing of 27 MPs.

Mr Manele may be new to parliament, but not to politics.

He had previously served as secretary to two former prime ministers, namely Dr Derek Sikua and Danny Philip.

He also served as permanent secretary in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, before resigning to contest the November 19 polls.

He once served as Solomon Islands ambassador to the United States of America.

Mr Manele unseated two-term MP Selwyn Riumana to claim the Hograno-Kia-Havulei seat in Isabel.

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