No change on offer in Solomon Islands – academic

Manasseh Sogavare speaks on the steps of Solomon Islands National Parliament shortly after winning the prime ministerial election. 24 April 2019
Manasseh Sogavare speaks on the steps of Solomon Islands National Parliament shortly after winning the prime ministerial election. 24 April 2019 Photo: Forum Solomon Islands International

An expert on politics in Melanesia says at the nub of the political instability in Solomon Islands is that no real change is being offered by either side.

Rioting broke out in the capital Honiara on Wednesday after the announcement of Manasseh Sogavare as the country’s next prime minister.

While the jury is still out on whether the unrest was a legitimate political protest there was a strong sentiment in the lead up to the election that a win by Mr Sogavare would represent the status quo, with most of the MPs in what became his coalition group having also formed the last government.


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But a professor in Comparative Politics at Victoria University of Wellington, Jon Fraenkel, said if you look at the make up of the winning coalition and the opposing coalition, led by Matthew Wale, they are almost identical.

“There are politicians that have been around for ages on both sides, there are politicians in the pockets of the loggers on both sides, there are new politicians on both sides and neither side expressed a coherent alternative platform around which people could potentially rally at elections.

“Elections in Solomon Islands don’t do that.

“It is only after the election that people sometimes try and describe one coalition or the other characterised by a different kind of politics. But that is I think misleading,” he said.

Matthew Wale the MP for Aoke Langa Langa, who is one of the two candidates contesting the prime ministerial election in Solomon Islands on Wednesday 24 April.
Matthew Wale Photo: Island Sun/Charles Kadamana

(RNZ)

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