By: Peni Komaisavai
A history-making 28 election petition cases were filed at the Solomon Islands High Court earlier this week.
This will see the election victories of 28 members of parliament challenged.
A 29th petition against Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has been rejected after the Registrar of the High Court found it failed to follow process.
The petitions against the election of Rex Ramofafia, Freda Tuki, Braddley Tovusia, Mathew Wale, Frederick Kologeto, Derick Manuari, Stanley Festus Sofu, Namson Tran, Robertson Galokale, Makario Tagini, Sam Iduri, Moffat Fugui, Peter Shanel Angovaka, Douglas Ete, Deputy Prime Miniser John Maneniaru, Danny Phillip, Silas, Tausinga, Lanelle Tanagada. Dickson Mua, Anathony Veke, Manasseh Maelanga, Jackson Fiulaua, Titus Fika, Jamie Vokia, Augustine Auga and Batholomew Parapolo, all stand.
Meanwhile Transparency Solomon Islands says the high number of election petitions show the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission lost control of the 2019 National General Election, and that the body should undergo a thorough review.
Electoral Commissioner Moses Saitala told local media that he expected a higher number of election petitions due to changes to the act, which provide more scope around what constitutes an electoral offence.
The Solomon Islands new Electoral Act states that the court must rule on petitions within a year of submission and these rules cannot be appealed.