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Veke calls to change proposed limited preferential voting system

PRESENTING his opening remarks during the Provincial Consultation Review of the Election System and National Parliament Electoral Provision Act yesterday in Honiara, Premier Veke calls for change to happen now.

“It is now time to change it. Our society has advanced and more institutional change is needed now to remain dynamic and relevant in the context of our modern society,” Premier Veke said.

He was referring to our current voting system which is the ‘First Past the Post’(FPTP) or the ‘Winner take all’ system which has failed miserably to deliver people’s desire for popular elected leaders, let alone the very fundamental democratic principle of majority rule. Hence the desire by our people for a change of elections system.

Among other things said during his speech, he cited empirical evidences from the ‘2017 White Paper on the Proposed Election System for the Solomon Islands’ that showed the inadequacies of the FPTP system.

“For Example in one electorate in the 1984 General Election, one candidate was declared elected with just 10.75 percent of total valid votes. More recent examples are In the; 7th Parliament which only 7 MPs (14 percent), 8th Parliament 4 MPs (8 percent), 9th Parliament 6 MPs (12 percent) and 10th Parliament 9 MPs (18 percent) were elected by absolute majority that is 50 percent +1 of valid votes” In the same General elections years as above, in the ; “7th Parliament 32.9 percent , 8th Parliament 29.6 percent, 9th Parliament 33.2 percent and 10th,Parliament 32.9 percent were elected by the total percentage of the total valid votes cast respectively. Those statistics showed that we have very unpopular elected leaders and they not dot represent the majority of people as a matter of fact,” Premier Veke highlighted.

He further noted, that in the White Paper, the government makes a mere statement supporting the development and expansion of political parties into the provinces. Nothing regarding provincial governments or federal state governments to be and their election systems.

“I want more mention and attention be given to Provincial or State Governments to be. One of these coming days, provincial or State governments to be will become very important self-sufficient governments and not just mere central government agencies as the practice now. It is time to affix these considerations,” Premier Veke expressed.

He added that it is encouraging to note the Draft Federal Constitution has already stipulated the election system to be “Preferential System”. However what type of Preferential System is not yet clear, but it does confirm the wishes of our people.

He then emphasised that the people of Guadalcanal are pushing for the Federal System of Governance and we will achieve this come what may. “This is our wish and our call, and was reaffirmed by our leaders during our Guadalcanal Leaders Dialogue and summit in 2016.”

Therefore considerations into the type of election system subnational governments will use must be made clear.

The consultation workshop will end today Thursday May 11, 2016.