ALFRED Efona, the man who ousted the 2019 winner of the Central Honiara Constituency through an election petition earlier this year, has won the seat.
Solomon Islands Chief Electoral Officer, Jane Waetara, was due to declare the result last night.
Efona never looked back by the time batches seven and eight were counted yesterday afternoon, according to sources. He had registered more than 2, 700 votes by then – some 600 votes more than what former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, his nearest rival, had collected.
The gap narrowed to about 400 votes when the counting of batch nine (9) was completed.
“But by the time counting of batch 10 was completed, the figures swung back to Efona, registering more than 600 votes in his favour,” one source said.
It is understood counting of batch 12, which is in the heartland of Efona’s territory, sealed Efona’s victory.
Despite what the Solomon Islands Electoral Office described as a peaceful election, counting in Central Honiara has come under public criticisms, particularly the pace of vote counting.
It has taken three full days to complete the counting since the by-election was held on 18 November.
“Why did it take so long?” one man asked.
Unconfirmed reports suggested counting stopped briefly on Saturday afternoon but it resumed a short time thereafter. No reason was given.
Last night Electoral officials rushed back to its Vavaya Ridge headquarters to announce the result. The counting was conducted at Rove in West Honiara – some four kilometres away.
Ten candidates contested the Central Honiara Constituency, left vacant in February this year following a High Court election petition ruling, which ousted John Moffat Fugui.
Mr. Fugui has since been appointed Solomon Islands’ Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. He is due to take up his appointment by the end of the year.
The result for the North East Guadalcanal Constituency where the other bye-election was held four days ago was announced on Friday.
Ethel Lency Vokia – the spouse of Lency Vokia, the former MP for the electorate won the seat when results were announced last Friday. Four candidates, including former Prime Minister Derek Sikua contested the North East Guadalcanal Constituency.
The situation in the area was reportedly tense shortly after the result was announced but it was said to be back to normal.
The MP-elect will join four other women Parliamentarians when she's sworn in later this week.