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Solomon Islands Election 2024: Sogavare Clings to Power Amid Uncertainty Over New Government Formation

Solomon Islands Election 2024

It is still unknown who will form the government after the election in the Solomon Islands. The current prime minister will be responsible for security work

Following the recent national Solomon Islands Election 2024, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s OUR Party narrowly secured 15 out of 50 seats in the National Assembly. The opposition parties, led by Peter Kenilorea Jr. and Rick Houenipwela, are competing to form a government by lobbying independent candidates.

Sogavare, who signed a security agreement with China in 2022, is facing scrutiny from various countries over the potential impact on regional security. The outcome of the election remains uncertain as parties continue to vie for power, with alliances forming and potential shifts in government policy on the horizon.

Key Concepts

  • Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s OUR Party narrowly won 15 out of 50 seats in the recent national election in the Solomon Islands.
  • Opposition parties led by Peter Kenilorea Jr. and Rick Houenipwela are vying to form a government by lobbying independent candidates.
  • Sogavare signed a security agreement with China in 2022, leading to scrutiny from China, the United States, and Australia over regional security implications.
  • The election outcome remains uncertain as parties continue to compete for power in the Solomon Islands.
  • Concerns about security and potential unrest have led to requests for assistance from Australian police and a police agreement with China.
  • The Care Alliance, led by Kenilorea, has formed with the goal of scrapping the security deal with China.
  • The Democratic Alliance Party, with seven seats, could potentially join the Care Alliance coalition in the Solomon Islands.

Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of the Pacific Island nation of the Solomon Islands, said he had narrowly won a seat in parliament and would still exercise power on security matters, despite no party having a clear advantage in the election. He is competing with the opposition parties to form a government.

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The election results released on Wednesday (April 24) showed that the Our Party (OUR), led by Sogavare, won 15 of the 50 seats in the National Assembly; the main opposition party held 20 seats; independent candidates and small parties controlled 15 seats.

Last week’s national election in the Solomon Islands was the first since Sogavare signed a security agreement with China in 2022, which invited Chinese police into the Solomon Islands and brought him closer to Beijing. China, the United States, and Australia are all very concerned about the possible impact of this election on regional security.

Opposition United Party leader Peter Kenilorea Jr. and former prime minister and Democratic Alliance Party leader Rick Houenipwela said they were lobbying independent candidates for the 26 needed to form a government. Seats, the situation is still unclear.

Sogavare said in an interview with Tavuli News published on Wednesday that he had won the Choiseul-East constituency by a “tiny margin”, a result that was “very disappointing to the Western world”.

Sogavare said the world was interested in the Solomon Islands election results because of his government’s decision in 2019 to sever ties with Taiwan and establish diplomatic ties with China. He said he remained in control during the post-election lobbying period to form a government.

“When it comes to security, when it comes to the security of this country, I will exercise full executive power, and I will continue to run this country,” he said during the visit, adding that he was worried about possible unrest.

Anti-government riots in 2021 evolved into riots in the capital, Honiara, which resulted in many buildings being burned down, forcing Sogavare to request help from the Australian police. This is also considered to be the reason why the Solomon Islands reached a police agreement with China.

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Police and election officials said the election process was largely peaceful, with Royal Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau saying in a statement late Monday night that the force was “a neutral law enforcement agency and has no political affiliation.”

In addition, at the invitation of the Sogavare government, police and defense forces from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji came to assist with election security.

Sogavare said his OUR party had the support of two tiny parties and would seek the support of independent candidates, claiming opposition parties were divided over who to support as prime minister. “There’s fierce competition on the other side, and there’s going to be some changes,” he said.

The Care Alliance (CARE), composed of the Solomon Islands Democratic Party led by Matthew Wale, Umi For Change (Umi For Change), and the Democratic Alliance Party led by former Prime Minister Ho Swee Lang, has a total of 13 seats.

Coalition leader Kenilori vowed to “scrap” the security deal with China as his party won seven seats and could join the CARE coalition.

“We are not currently part of the CARE coalition,” Canillory said Tuesday. “We are seeking change and will align ourselves with like-minded groups who also want to make that happen.”

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