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PM's VOTE DAY
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24 April 2019
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Urgent court challenge fails to stall election

By AATAI J. LAUINGI

 

THE election of a new Prime Minister will go ahead this morning despite a court case challenging the candidacy of Manasseh Sogavare.

Sogavare and Mathew Wale are vying for the top job.

But yesterday Wale, through his lawyer Gabriel Suri, filed a case in the High Court challenging the validity of Sogavare’s candidacy.

This was in relation to Sogavare’s Our Party, which was registered by the Political Parties Commission just after the April 3 election.

Wale, who earlier wrote to the Governor General about the issue, wanted the High Court to rule on certain provisions of the Political Parties Integrity (PPI) Act, which provides for the registration of political parties.

He was also asking the court to delay today’s election, pending a decision on the matters raised.

Deputy Chief Justice Francis Mwanesalua presided over the case.

After hearing submissions from Suri and Wilson Rano, who appeared for Sogavare, Mwanesalua adjourned the matter to Friday this week, citing “his hands have been tied”.

His decision means today’s election will be left to Governor General Sir Frank Kabui, who will preside over the meeting, to decide whether it will proceed or not.

The Constitution gave powers to the Governor General to make decisions on disputes arising out of the nomination of the Prime Minister and whether the election should proceed or not.

Rano told the media outside the court yesterday the Court does not have the jurisdiction to make decisions on the matter because only the Governor General can deliberate on it during the election meeting.



 

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