THE government officials say Cabinet has not made any decision yet, to shorten the life of parliament or increase it to five years.
Chief of Staff Robson Djokovic and Special Secretary to the Prime Minister (SSPM) Albert Kabui both rejected claims that the government had already made a decision on the parliament extension.
Speaking during the government press conference on Wednesday, Kabui said the Cabinet has not agreed to the suggestion to hold election earlier or to extend the term of the current Parliament.
Mr Djokovic in addition also echoed the same sentiments stating that no decision has been made as to the extension.
“It is still in a consultation process. But, yes, it is definitely under consideration and nobody denies that but that process is ongoing,” Djokovic said.
He clarified that the extension of parliament is not a government policy rather it is a response to the overarching policies of managing Covid-19 and maintaining economic livelihood in support of government’s economic policy.
Djokovic further stated that they are still waiting on analysis of what are the impacts of extending parliament, the impacts of maintaining the national general election (NGE) next year and what are the impacts of calling an early election?
On the cost of the elections, Djokovic said it would cost about $100m.
He also pointed out that $300m is still outstanding to host Pacific Games—adding that it has put a lot of pressure on the government.
SSPM Kabui in explaining why the government proposed to extend the life of parliament said:
“In terms of man-power, resources and logistics we can’t have both events in one year.
“So, the government feels in order to accommodate the Pacific Games we have to move the election.”
However, the Opposition Group has already opposed to the extension.
Leader of the Opposition Mathew Wale last week said Solomon Islands can do both with the support of its partners, but to have that with an excuse for an unnecessary amendment on the face of it, is self-serving and not the best option, and called on the government to step-down if it has no idea on how to run it.
Other groups and organisations have also objected to the idea to extend the parliament.
By FOLLET JOHN