THE Honiara Hotel grouping, which claimed 27 members on Tuesday night, is still to submit its coalition agreement to the Political Parties Commission, it was revealed.
The group consists of United Democratic Party, Kadere (SI) and defect members of People Alliance Party.
They have yet to sign a coalition agreement and come up with a name for it, although they have elected Manasseh Sogavare as candidate for Prime Ministership.
Under section 53, subsection 1 of the Political Parties Integrity Act, a Political Party may, before or after an election, negotiate and enter into a coalition agreement with other political parties, and such agreement must contain the minimum rules set out in Schedule 2.
In subsection 3, section 53, it states that no Political Party may enter into a coalition agreement with any independent or group of independent members of Parliament after an election.
Unlike the Mendana Hotel camp, they had submitted its coalition agreement to the Commission after their Presidents and Secretaries for Democratic Alliance Party (DAP), Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement (SIPRA), Solomon Islands People First Party (SIPFP) and the Peoples’ Alliance Party (PAP) signed it last Friday.
The group now called themselves Solomon Islands People’s Democratic Coalition.
Therefore, the actions of the Honiara Hotel camp has raised much questions than answers whether the group want to observe the law or still resorts to maintaining the old game.
Registrar of Political Parties Commission, Calwin Ziru declined to comments when asked by Solomon Star yesterday.
However, Ziru said the four members of PAP that claimed to withdraw from the Party had not resigned.
He said the Commission is still to receive their resignation letters although they stick with the Honiara Hotel group.
They are wing Leader; Milner Tozaka (North Vella La Vella), and newly elected MPs; Willie Marau (Ulawa/Ugi), Freda Tuki Comua (Temotu Vatud) and Duddley Kopu (Temotu Pele).
But Ziru said he had received the letters of Commins Mewa and Samuel Manetoali, who have defected SIPRA this week.
Solomon Islands election expert Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka said political defections were one of the shortcomings of the Political Parties Integrity Act, which was established for this election to stem the unregulated movement between parties, or “grasshopping”.
“Section 54 sub-section 2 of the Political Parties Integrity Act provides that any political party intending to withdraw from the coalition must give at least 30 days notice,” Dr Kabutaulaka, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii, said.
“Sub-section 4 of section 54 provides that the party can withdraw if they have a majority decision and the definition of a majority decision is three quarters of the members of a political party who are members of parliament.
“Which means if you have a one-member party in the coalition, if that member decides to move, then that’s a 100 per cent of the members of the party, and therefore you can move.”
He told Pacific Beat current laws do not provide a recipe for stable government in Solomon Islands.
“When you do get into parliament and if a group forms government in parliament, there is still room for movement between political parties,” he said.
“So it could happen in parliament as well and so the kind of stability that we wanted is not likely to happen.”
By EDDIE OSIFELO