Podcast #119: Solomon Islands elections


Ben is joined by Kerryn Baker from the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University to discuss the recent elections in the Solomon Islands, which ended with a new prime minister, if not an entirely new government.

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  1. Manasseh Sogavare led a corrupt government that oversaw a level of democratic backsliding we haven’t seen in the Pacific in years. He also led the Solomon Islands to rely on enemy states such as China instead of its true, traditional allies, Western liberal democracies like the United States, Australia and Japan. I’m glad that bugger’s gone.

  2. Portal, not out the woods yet, unfortunately his party still is in power which is still anti-western. While I personally would oppose military action if things got worse, I certainly think increasing the pressure on this new world order is in our best interests but at the same time exercising a great deal of diplomacy

  3. @Daniel T agreed, I know his party is still in power so chances are the Solomon Islands are on the road to a more autocratic government with more and more corruption. If the Solomon Islands had a military they would have staged a coup by now.

    Another thing to note is that Sogavare has refused on several occasions to reform the penal code to reform or remove the colonial-era criminal offence of “gross indecency”, which effectively criminalises anal or oral sex (both heterosexual and homosexual), even between two consenting adults in private, and makes male and female homosexuality a crime. Even Pope Francis has said that homosexuality should be legal everywhere. There are also no discrimination protections for LGBT people in the Solomon Islands. Other issues he has failed to act on include problems with education, poverty and water contamination, all of which are issues affecting many Solomon Islanders, especially those in rural areas as opposed to those in Honiara. There are still plenty of people living in slums across the country, including in Honiara.

  4. Thankyou so much Ben for covering elections in less prominent places like the Solomons and others like the Timor Leste and PNG last year.

    The was one thing I’m not sure about from this episode during the discussion of candidates encouraging voters to change the seat the vote in to support them. Kerryn mentioned this exacerbates the under/overrepresentation of certain seats, but wouldn’t it do the opposite? Wouldn’t candidates choose to run in seats with fewer voters, so the voters they convince to change have stronger relative voting power. So the smallest seats get a flood of voters from the biggest?


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