SEVEN RETAIN SEATS
By OFANI EREMAE
MANASSEH Sogavare is returning for his sixth term in parliament after retaining his East Choiseul seat in Wednesday’s polls.
The former prime minister and outgoing Finance minister was one of seven MPs in the last House, who has secured his seat so far, according to results released last night.
The other six are:
1. Dr Culwick Togamana – Maringe/Kokota
2. Charles Sigoto – Rannogga/Simbo
3. Dr Tautai Angikimua – Rennell & Bellona
4. Samuel Manetoali – Go/Bugotu
5. William Marau – Ulawa/Ugi
6. Nestor Giro – Central Makira
Results released last night also saw three new comers.
They are former Clerk to Parliament Clezy Rore, former Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Harry Kuma and Robertson Galokale former senior public servant working in the Treasury department.
Rore caused the biggest election upset so far when he unseated Milner Tozaka, the outgoing Foreign Affairs minister, who lost the seat after serving two terms.
Tozaka is the parliamentary wing leader of the People’s Alliance Party in the last House.
In North West Choiseul, Kuma polled 2,948 votes to knock out Connelly Sandakabatu, who had held the seat for the last two terms.
In South Choiseul Mr Galokale ousted former MP Elijah Doromuala who came sixth. Mr Galokale is the Managing Director of the Takamako Holdings group of companies. He polled 999 votes ahead of Leokana Tozen close behind with 965 votes.
The result was announced just after 2am this morning.
Sogavare retained his seat after polling 1,860 votes, more than a thousand ballots from the runner up Ezra Kukuti, who polled 755 votes.
In Ulawa/Ugi, Marau, the youngest MP in the last House, secured his second term by a landslide.
He received 1,778 votes ahead of the former Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, George Takeli, who polled only 476.
The other six candidates who contested the seat collected even lesser number of votes.
In Central Makira Mr Giro polled 3,803 votes ahead of Usumae Peter Thompson with 1,419.
In Gao/ Bugotu, Manetoali’s return for his fourth term in parliament was not only history in Isabel Province, but also raised a few eye-brows.
In late last year, police arrested and charged Manetoali for alleged conversion of constituency funds.
The charge was a huge set-back to Mantoali’s election campaign and many doubted his chances of returning for another parliamentary term.
But on Wednesday, the people of Gao/Bugotu handed Mantoalia a resounding victory and a fourth term in parliament.
He polled 2,457 votes ahead of his runner up Adrian Toni, who received 1,102 ballots.
Counting will resume this morning, with more results expected during the day.