By ANDREW FANASIA
MATHEW Wale will take on Manasseh Sogavare for the prime minister’s job in next Wednesday’s election.
He’s now the candidate for the grand coalition, and not Peter Kenilorea Jr, who was earlier touted as the group’s front-man for the top job.
But at the close of nominations 4.30pm yesterday, Governor General Sir Frank Kabui received the names of Wale and Sogavare.
Sogavare, who leads Our Party, is the candidate for the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA), which currently commands the support of 34 MPs.
The grand coalition group has not clarified why they nominated Wale, and not Kenilorea.
But a coalition insider explained when they announced Kenilorea as the group’s potential candidate on Monday this week, it was not a nomination.
“In fact there was an understanding among the three parties that made up the grand coalition,” the insider said.
“It is this: that each party will engage in separate lobbying of MPs to its party.
“Before the nominations close (4.30pm yesterday), the party with the highest number of MPs will have its leader nominated for the PM job.
“This understanding is in line with Schedule 2 of the Political Parties Integrity Act (PPIA). That is, the party with the highest number of MPs will have its leader nominated.
“Before nominations close yesterday, grand coalition party members met and agreed that Wale will be their candidate because his party has the highest number of MPs.
“So there’s nothing sinister about what had transpired. It was a decision made in line with the PPIA,” the insider said.
Wale was nominated by Danny Philip, Peter Kenilorea Jr, Douglas Ete and Robertson Galokale.
Sogavare was nominated by Peter ShanelAgovaka, John Maneniaru, Jeremiah, Manele, and Frederick Kologeto.
Wale and Sogavare are both experienced and outspoken politicians.
Records also show they topped the attendance list of parliament meetings.
Meanwhile, Kenilorea confirmed to his facebook friends and supporters on Thursdayy that Wale is the group’s candidate.
"Mathew Wale is our official nominated candidate from our group.
"I wish him all the best for the election on the 24th.
"Let us now support Wale as we continue to push for change in our beloved nation.”
It’s understood Wale’s group currently has the support of 16 MPs, who are members of Solomon Islands Democratic Party (SIDP), United Party, and United Democratic Party.