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Tuesday 22 May 2018

The Parliamentary Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) successfully concluded a three days hearing into the Electoral Bill 2018 and the Constitution (Amendment) (Electoral) Bill 2018 on Thursday 17th May 2018.

Both Bills were heard together by BLC from Tuesday 15th May to Thursday 17th May 2018 with Officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC), Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs, Legal Draftsperson, Political Parties Commission, Representatives of registered Political Parties, Transparency Solomon Islands, National Council of Women (NCW) and a retired MP and Former Prime Minister Sir Francis Billy Hilly.

The Electoral Bill 2018 is a proposed law to regulate the registration of electors and the election of members of the National Parliament and for related purposes.

Its objects and reasons are to repeal and replace the National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act (Cap.87), to improve the registration system of electors, to further regulate nomination process of candidates, to further improve the conduct of voting, to improve the counting process and to ensure there is a comprehensive range of electoral offences with appropriate penalties.

The Constitution (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) Bill 2018 is to amend the Constitution in relation to electoral matters.

Its objects and reasons are to provide an additional requirement that a candidate for election be a registered elector and to allow an Act to prescribe the term “ordinarily resident”; furthermore, to provide for a 12 month stand down period for a member of the Electoral Commission or staff to involved in the election process if he or she intends to stand as a candidate.

The Bill also caters for the increase of membership of the Electoral Commission to 5 members who will also deal with registration of political parties currently undertaken by the Political Parties Commission under the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.

It also aims to establish a new position of Commissioner of Elections as the administrative head of the office responsible for elections and will also act as the Registrar for Political Parties under the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.

Details of the Electoral Bill 2018 and the Constitutional (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) Bill 2018 can be accessed on the 'What’s new in Parliament' column.

Currently the BLC under the Chairmanship of Hon. Matthew Wale has already deliberated on the following Bills;

  • The Anti-Corruption Bill 2017
  • The Electoral Bill 2018 and
  • The Constitution (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) 2018

BLC is planning to deliberate on the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority Bill 2018 starting on Tuesday, 22nd March 2018.

Bills that are still before the House to consider include:

  • The Strata Titles Bill 2017
  • The Legal Profession Bill 2017; and
  • The Whistle-blowers Protection Bill 2016