The government’s controversial plan to extend the life of the 11and Parliament within 12 months could be beaten by the demands of the Rules, it was revealed yesterday.

Under pressure from voters to drop the proposal, the DCGA government reportedly agreed to government MPs, in particular, traveling to their constituencies to consult with their constituents.

These consultations should take place in July this year. Parliament is due to resume on 15and July during its mid-year session.

Those familiar with the Rules told Solomon Star yesterday that there are specific Rules which require 21 days for such consultation to take place before an amendment to the Constitution is proposed in Parliament.

“The question is whether they will meet the 21-day requirement. As things stand and based on past experience, it is unlikely that such a deadline will be met.

“The other problem is the issue of cost. Does the government have the financial capacity to get things done? one told Solomon Star.

With the exception of the ruling DCGA government, the issue of extending Parliament from 12 months to five years has divided the nation.

Opposition members and some DCGA politicians support a snap election. They argue that we can complete the elections before the opening of the 2023 Pacific Games in November next year.

Those who opposed the extension also argued that the government in power “does not have the people’s mandate to extend the term of Parliament”.

“We should ask voters for their blessing for a five-year term,” they said.

Among the entities that have opposed the extension is the provincial government of Malaita.

The MARA government, led by Prime Minister Daniel Suidani, has waged a province-wide campaign against the extension. He plans to field 14 candidates in the next national general election – a move aimed at eliminating all Malaysian MPs, especially in government, at the national level.

A public forum is planned by Mr. Suidani to seek the opinion of the Malaita public on the plan to extend the term of parliament.

But leading DCGA members have argued passionately for extending the parliamentary term from four to five years, saying the timing of next year’s elections would conflict with staging the 2023 Pacific Games.

The 2023 Pacific Games are officially due to open on the 19thand November next year and will end on 2n/a December 2023. Thousands of athletes from across the Pacific region are expected in Honiara for the two-week sports bonanza.

By Alfred Sasako

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