The government of Solomon Islands says its Political Parties Integrity Bill is “very close” to finally becoming law.
The Bill passed its second reading, despite lacking a quorum, and parliament will work through its details this week.
The Bill aims to promote solidarity in parliament by providing for ‘the registration, administration and development of political parties to promote integrity in their operations’.
It also seeks to ‘make consequential amendments to the National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act’.
Earlier incarnations of the controversial bill included a clause to prevent MPs from changing allegiance mid-term.
The Bill was amended in February to exclude this clause, but a number of MPs still see it as an anti-defection measure.
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has denied this.
“It’s designed to develop legislative mechanisms that provide for registrations and setting up standards and requirements for the development of political parties,” Lilo told parliament last week.
The Prime Minister’s director of governance Calvin Ziru told Pacific Beat the primary objective of the Bill is to improve political stability.
“Prime Minister Lilo has introduced a Bill that focuses by-and-large on strengthening first and foremost political parties,” he said.
“So he’s correct in saying this isn’t an anti-defection piece of legislation it’s intended to improve political party integrity by providing means for registration and also the governance of political parties in Solomon Islands.”
Ziru said the Bill would create a more established party system and solid base, that should decrease the risk of defection.
“That’s the rationale that the government is taking for this proposed law,” he said.
This Bill is expected to be just the first step in many to combat corruption in Solomon Islands.
“There’s a lot more work to do, we’re strengthening political parties there’s also various other reforms that need to be thought about by the next government that will all simply complement this legislation,” Ziru said.
“[But] it’s a very good start indeed, very good legislation for us to pass.”
HONIARA, (RADIO AUSTRALIA)