The registration of political parties which will contest Solomon Islands 2014 General Elections later this year will begin in July.
The Prime Minister’s Office has still to announce the commencement date to register the political parties, but it has announced the establishment of the Registry Office of the Political Parties at the top floor of the Post Office building in West Honiara.
The Registry Office of the Political Parties was established soon after the passing in Parliament in May of the Political Parties Integrity Bill.
While the Governor General will appoint the Commissioners and the Registrar, the Public Service Commission will appoint the officials.
The appointments should have been made in June, but so far no names have yet been made public.
To follow the process will be the development of Regulations and Integrity Standards as stipulated under Sections 71 and 72 of the Political Parties Integrity Act.
Both the Regulations and the Guidelines on Integrity Standards will be tabled in the August sitting of Parliament
But an aggressive civic education program will need to be developed to inform the public about the political parties and the requirements to have them registered and the benefits they can receive for doing so.
A report in THE NATION, the newly launched government news magazine published by the Government Communications Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office says the government has expected the Political Parties Integrity Commission to complete its set up, as well as its administrative procedures by late June.
The report says if the expectation was achieved, registration of political parties could now start later in July.
Meanwhile, the report says once the polling day is identified, registered political parties would file their endorsed candidates with the Political Parties Integrity Commission by about September.
A circular to all registered political parties will be issued by the Registrar in August after consultation with the Electoral Commission to confirm the exact date for submission of all endorsed candidates to contest the General Elections.
The current Parliament will end its four-year term on September 8.
Unofficially there are 12 political parties in Solomon Islands, nine have sitting MPs, three remain quite active, but do not have sitting MPs and an a group of independent MPs.
By George Atkin