Lanelle Tanangada is the new Member of Parliament (MP) elect for Gizo/Kolombangara constituency.
This follows her landslide victory over former Prime Minister and top contender Gordon Darcy Lilo during Wednesday’s by-election.
Mrs Tanagada’s win has dashed Lilo’s hope to regain power for the second time in Parliament.
Mrs Tanagada was declared winner just after 8pm last night after a whole day of counting yesterday at the Western provincial headquarter in Gizo.
She got a total of 2580 votes and won by a 987 majority vote. This was a stronger margin then what her husband polled in 2014.
Mr Lilo got a total vote of 1,598 trailing behind Mrs Tanangada, Peter Sogoila 598 votes, Kenneth Bulehite 243 votes and Ronald Dive got 187 votes.
Returning Officer Christian Siale declared the result at Gizo police station in front of a good number of crowd last night.
Many of the supporters have returned to their villages late in the evening after the counting went through the night.
The announcement was also witnessed by the Chief Electoral Officer Mose Siatala in accordance with Section 55 of the National Parliament provisions Act.
Mr Siale thanked the people of Gizo/Kolombangara constituency for respecting the whole election process.
“Thank you to you good people of Gizo/Kolombangara for your patience and respect for the successful conclusion of the election process,” Mr Siale said last night in Gizo town.
The Solomon Star was unable to speak with the winning candidate as she was out of Gizo town at the time of the declaration last night.
Meanwhile, there have been huge celebrations by supporters in Gizo and the communities following the declaration of the news.
The win by Mrs Tanagada was described as a sweet victory for our women.
Her historic win means she is the fourth women in the history of this country to enter parliament.
The current parliament will now has two female MPs. The other current female MP is Hon. Freda Tuki of Temotu Vatud.
Its understood women organizations and many ordinary women in the country have rallied their support behind Mrs Tanagada.
A victory parade is being planned by women in Gizo with the winning MP.
Mrs Tanangada who is part Ranoggah and Marovo is a teacher by profession. She got her masters at Waikato University in New Zealand. She contested as an independent candidate.
Following the declaration of the result last night many people both in the country and abroad took to the social media to congratulate the new MP elect.
They also showed photos of themselves partying and celebrating with the symbol of tree.
One of her strong supporters while congratulating Mrs Tanangada said, “you and husband stood the test of time, battered by local and international media tarnishing the image of both of you, instead you step up to rise beyond all doubts and the people’s vote clearly indicate that they still need your leadership to be around.
“Serve the people both voters and non voters with dignity and humility and may God continue to bless you and the constituency as you will entered uncharted waters with faith. Beginning of a new chapter, go in faith.”
Another commented saying; “You have stood the battle against non-voters and media tarnishing your reputation. “Today you’ve proved that its the people of the constitution that have put you there.”
A former University Of Waikato scholar in New Zealand said, “from us here, we’re so proud of this achievement and great step especially empowering women in our society.”
Another commentator said, the victory is about advancing women in leadership and gender equality.
A supporter of the winning candidate last night said, “tonight (last night) its a huge victory for us as supporters because the silent majority have spoken.”
Over the past few days and weeks, supporters for the top two candidates have been attacking each other via the social media with words and allegations while predicting their candidate will win the race.
Some supporters of the loosing candidates last night also joined others to congratulate Mrs Tanangada on her victory and said its time to work together to develop the constituency and move on.
Mrs Tanangada is expected to sworn-in as a new MP.
By ANDREW FANASIA & MOFFAT MAMU