AUSTRALIA: Manasseh Sogavare is attempting to push back the vote, which is scheduled for mid-2023, by seven months. Critics claim this is a move in the direction of authoritarianism.
Australia asserts that its assistance offer is not unusual. As Manasseh Sogavare’s government develops deeper ties with China, relations between the two nations have recently deteriorated.
Australia frequently provides financial and logistical help for elections in Pacific nations, notably in prior elections in the Solomon Islands. However, Manasseh Sogavare asserts that it was timed to have an impact on how MPs voted on a constitutional amendment bill. If the bill is passed, the election might be postponed.
In a statement, Manasseh Sogavare said: “This is an assault on our parliamentary democracy and is a direct meddling by a foreign government into our domestic affairs.”
Elections are typically held every four years, but the administration attempts to push back the next vote until late in 2023, following the nation’s hosting of the Pacific Games.
According to Manasseh Sogavare, the country lacks the resources to hold both events simultaneously. The nation’s opposition has referred to the suggested delay as a “power grab” and requested Australia, the nation’s top aid contributor, for assistance.
Two times recently, including during the most recent election, protesters have demanded that Manasseh Sogavare resign. The controversial security agreement that the leader signed with China in April has put him under pressure.
He has frequently criticised nations for their responses to the pact, especially Australia, and has threatened to bar foreign media after “demeaning” coverage. Manasseh Sogavare will travel to Australia in the following weeks to meet with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
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