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Women candidates impact on election line-up

Husband and wife bid for parliament seats

A record number of women candidates are expected to contest the Solomon Islands national election on November 19. Lisa Horiwapu of Vois Blong Mere Solomons (VBMS) expects around 30 female candidates contesting in various constituencies of the 50 total seats in parliament. Nominations closed on October 22 and prior to close of nominations, 26 women have confirmed their intentions to contest. Lisa and her VBMS team in collaboration with UN Women held series of training for aspiring women candidates last month to prepare them. “We help them understand the government system, their roles if they enter parliament and a workshop on transformational leadership.

“We also help them to understand their platforms as women going into the election and consequently into parliament if they are successful,” Horiwapu said. The highest number of women candidates in the last eight general elections since independence was 26 candidates in the 2006 elections. Twenty-one women candidates stood in the last election in 2010. Only two women Hilda Kari from Guadalcanal Province and Vika Lusibaea – originally from Fiji have made it into parliament.

Lusibaea is contesting the Central Honiara Constituency this year following her byelection win in the North Malaita’s Constituency in 2012. Her partner Jimmy Lusibaea who was then Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources in the ninth parliament which ended its term in September 2014, was disqualified following a court conviction. Lusibaea entered politics in 2010 and will fight to retain his North Malaita seat come November 19. If Vika and Jimmy win their respective constituencies, it will be the first time a married couple will serve in the Solomon Islands’ Parliament.

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