SSPM: Power to defer or delay National General Election rests with the Parliament
TO defer or delay the National General Election, the Constitution have to be amended and the power to amend the Constitution rests with Parliament, not the government.
This was clarified by Special Secretary to Prime Minister Albert Kabui during a Press Conference yesterday in light of many oppositions on the government’s bid to defer the 2023 national general election.
Kabui said to make it clear to the public, in any deferral or delay of national election the constitution will have to be amended and the powers to amend the constitution rests with the Parliament and not the government.
This is provided under section 59 and 61 of our Constitution which gives power in Parliament to make Laws and Alteration of Constitution.
“So, the power rest with parliament and not the government or other body for that matter,” he said.
He said when it comes to deferral or delay of election, of course the term of the 11th Parliament will extend but not on permanent term. It is only a one of term which means it will be back to the normal four year in the next General Election.
He also clarifies that the Constitution process is provided under our laws so the government information park where MPs’ are using to conduct awareness at their constituencies is part of the process.
It was understood that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Member of Parliament for East Kwaio Stanley Sofu, Southeast Vella MP Fedrick Kologeto have completed their awareness to explain the intention of the government to defer the election.
Kabui said they are waiting for other Parliament Members to complete their awareness and bring it before the Constitution Review Committee for further review before it becomes a bill. The bill will then put on notice for a month as required under the constitution before it is tabled on the floor of Parliament.
“This is a process to follow and we are not reaching that stage yet. Once the Bill is finalized it will put on notice and of course it will be tabled in parliament,” Kabui said.
He said it is when it becomes a bill that will see whether the extension is permanent or not.
He further said the statement to say the government will extend the parliament does not have the power.
Meanwhile, Attorney General John Muria Junior confirmed the Acting Chief Electoral officer Fredrick Bosoboe was right to say any deferment of election is outside the Electorate Act and mandate of the commission.
However, he wants to make it clear that when the parliament set it for election then that is the time for the Electoral Commission to carry out their mandate.
To date, those who have opposed the government’s intention to defer the election are Solomon Islands Democratic Party, Malango and Bahomea House of Chiefs, Solomon Islands Christian Association, Chiefs and Leader of ward 16, East Malaita, Tandai and Sahalu, Birao Chiefs, TSI, Opposition officer and independent office who have called for a wider consultation.
By CHARLES KADAMANA
Solomon Star, Honiara