Sunday, January 30, 2011

Constitutional Crisis Looms over 'Hapi Isles'

Solomon Islands is heading towards a constitutional crisis after Martin Sophage rejoined the government after only 5 days with the Opposition.

Mr. Sophage is the second MP to rejoin the CNRA Government after Mark Kemakeza made a similar move few days ago.

The move by Sophage now put the number balance at 24 - 24 for both the government and the opposition.

At 24 - 24 any intended motion of no confidence by the opposition will be defeated if the votes are reflective of the number balance as any equal votes in a no confidence motion is a defeated motion.

In addition, at the current number balance, the CNRA government is still surviving at the brink as it is still not a minority government.

Hence, despite the fact that a notice for a motion of no confidence has been submitted to the Clerk of Parliament and should be effective seven clear days after it has been submitted, at this point there is no pressure on the PM to recall Parliament to sit and debate a no confidence motion.

As we know, according to relevant sections of the Constitution, on normal occasions, Parliament can only be recalled by the Governor-General in consultation with the Prime Minister. However, in crisis situations, such as in the event of a constitutional crisis, using his reserve powers, the Governor - General can recall Parliament to meet to decide on the national budget.

The CNRA government has scheduled the 2011 budget sitting for March.

In that case, a constitutional crisis will only happen if a budget is tabled and not passed, or if between now and March the number shifts in favour of the Opposition and for that reason the PM refuses to consult the Governor-General for Parliament to sit.

So from now until March we hope and pray that things will turn out positively for the betterment of Solomon Islands. 

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