By EDDIE OSIFELO
CONSTITUENTS of Gizo-Kolombangara in Western Province are expected to go to the polls this year to elect their new leader.
This is necessary after the High Court last November declared the election of Jimson Tanangada in the 2014 national elections null and void.
The court found Mr Tanangada had bribed people to vote for him in the last election.
Minister of Home Affairs Commins Mewa said told the Solomon Star on Tuesday a by-election is definitely set down for this year in the Gizo-Kolombangara constituency.
But he said they are yet to set a date.
“We need $2 million to conduct the by-election,” Mr Mewa said.
“The ministry will submit a $2 million budget to cabinet for approval,” he added.
“If the budget is approved, then preparation for the by-election will take place.”
Losing Gizo-Kolombangara candidate and former prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo lodged a petition against Mr Tanangada after the 2014 elections.
But the battle took three years before Justice Rex Foukoma delivered his ruling on the matter last month.
In his ruling, Justice Foukona blamed the delay on counsels, particularly Mr Lilo’s lawyer, Nuatali Tongarutu.
“This case is inordinately delayed until now because of the negative work attitude of the counsels, in particular counsel for the petitioner, who failed to attend on a number of occasions and fail to comply with direction orders to move the case forward.
“This behavioural attitude is unacceptable and ought not to be repeated again,” Justice Foukona said.
Mr Welcomed earlier welcomed the ruling.
“This is a win for the people of Gizo/Kolombangara,” Mr Lilo told the Solomon Star after court ruling.
“The people have proven themselves by prosecuting this case in a honest way,” he added.
“The witnesses came out freely to support the solicitor who represented them in this case.
“They have proven one thing, and that is my loss is a clean loss.
“Somebody else played dirty,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mewa said his ministry is also awaiting the outcome of the petition filed against MP for Temotu Vatud, Freda Tuki.
However, he said if Mrs Tuki loses the case, it is unlikely a by-election will be held this year.
Tanagada, who was the former Minister of Home Affairs before the High Court decision, is unlikely to contest the by-election.
A new MP for Gizo-Kolombangara will serve for less than a year.