Kenilorea slams PM’s response to Australia’s offer to fund elections next year

“It exposed the true selfish agenda of Sogavare and his government to retain power,” he said.

The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, the Honorable Peter Kenilorea Junior, has criticized the Prime Minister’s response to Australia’s offer to fund the national general election next year.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare previously rejected an Australian offer to fund next year’s national elections, calling it an “assault” on its democracy and an attempt at foreign interference.

Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Penny Wong confirmed that Australia had made a bid to help fund elections in the Solomon Islands next year as the country’s parliament debates a deeply controversial bill aimed at to postpone the national election until 2024.

In a statement last night, the opposition MP said the PM’s response in an official statement from his office only proved the prime minister’s true ambition; simply cling to power.

Hon Kenilorea said Australia had done nothing wrong in making the generous offer.

He said that in fact they had helped with our country’s elections in the past.

Hon Kenilorea said the Prime Minister’s attack on what is a generous offer from Australia is inappropriate and hugely unnecessary.

“It exposed the true selfish agenda of Sogavare and his government to retain power,” he said.

The Opposition MP said that while one of the government’s main arguments is the lack of funding and resources to stage two events next year, it is certainly an offer from the Australian government and people whom we should welcome with open arms.

“The Prime Minister’s response that this is an attack on our democracy is in fact a reflection of the current situation where the Prime Minister is trying to circumvent the parliamentary process so that the Committee on Bills and laws is investigating a very important bill, the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2022,” he said.

Hon Kenilorea adds that the Prime Minister did not express his disagreement when Australia donated A$17 million for the Pacific Games.

“This offer has never been criticized but warmly welcomed. But when a generous offer has been made to help fund elections next year, it is viewed differently. It is in fact shameful to say the least and it just shows the true colors of the government that there was never any talk of having two events in the same year,” he said.

The Opposition MP said the latest development also highlighted the schizophrenic nature of Sogavare’s relationship with Australia.

Source: Opposition Press

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