THE Government’s controversial plan to extend the life of the 11th Parliament by 12 months could be defeated by requirements of the Standing Order, it was revealed yesterday.
Under pressure by voters to drop the proposal, the DCGA government is understood to have agreed that Government Members of Parliament in particular travel to their Constituencies to consult with their voters.
These consultations are expected to be undertaken in July this year. Parliament is due to resume on 15th July in its mid-year session.
Those familiar with the Standing Orders told Solomon Star yesterday there is a specific Standing Order which requires a 21-day duration for such consultation to take place before an amendment to the Constitution is moved in Parliament.
“Whether they will meet the 21-day requirement is the issue. As it stands and based on past experience, it is doubtful such a deadline will be met.
“The other issue is the question of cost. Does the government have the financial capacity to move things along?,” one told Solomon Star.
Except for the DCGA ruling government, the issue of extending Parliament by 12 months to five years, has split the nation.
Opposition Members and some DCGA politicians support a snap election. They argue we can complete the election before the 2023 Pacific Games open in November next year.
Those who opposed the extension also argued that the ruling government “does not have the mandate from the people to extend the life of Parliament.”
“We should go to the voters for their blessing on a five-year term,” they said.
Among the entities that opposed the extension is the Malaita Provincial Government.
Premier Daniel Suidani-led MARA Government has been waging a Province-wide campaign against the extension. It is planning to field 14 candidates at the next national general election – a move aimed at removing all Malaitan MPs, especially in Government, at the national level.
A public forum is being planned by Mr Suidani to gather Malaita public’s view on the plan to extend the life of parliament.
But core DCGA Members have passionately argued for the extension of the Parliamentary term from four to five years, claiming the timing of the election next year would clash with the hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games.
The 2023 Pacific Games is due to officially open on 19th November next year and will end on 2nd December 2023. Thousands of athletes from around the Pacific region are expected in Honiara for the two-week sporting bonanza.
By Alfred Sasako