Solomon Islands Opposition Parties Form Coalition, Challenging China-Aligned Former PM

Solomon Islands election sees opposition coalition CARE challenge PM Sogavare's China-aligned party. Outcome closely watched by global powers amid concerns over Beijing's Pacific influence.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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Solomon Islands Opposition Parties Form Coalition, Challenging China-Aligned Former PM

Solomon Islands Opposition Parties Form Coalition, Challenging China-Aligned Former PM

Four opposition political parties in the Solomon Islands have formed a coalition called CARE to challenge the party aligned with former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has close ties with China. The coalition, consisting of the Solomon Islands United Party (SIUP), the Solomon Islands Democratic Party (SIDP), the Democratic Alliance Party (DAP), and the United 4 Change (U4C) party, signed an agreement committing to "take back Solomon Islands" and restore confidence in the country's leadership.

The recent general election in the Solomon Islands did not produce a clear winner, with Sogavare's party winning 15 out of 50 seats in the national parliament. The CARE coalition commands a total of 20 seats and is appealing to newly elected independent MPs to join them in forming the next government, citing a mandate for change from the people. Major opposition parties and independent parties hold the remaining seats.

The election was the first since Sogavare signed a security pact with China in 2022, drawing the Pacific Islands nation closer to Beijing. Sogavare remains in control and is working to form a new government, seeking the support of smaller parties and independents. Police and defense forces from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji are assisting with election security at the invitation of Sogavare's government.

Why this matters: The election outcome is being closely watched by China, the U.S., and Australia due to its potential impact on regional security. The Solomon Islands' strategic location and recent alignment with China have raised concerns among Western allies about Beijing's growing influence in the Pacific region.

The formation of the new government remains unpredictable, with the Solomon Islands Democratic Party (SIDP) and Sogavare's OUR Party likely to form the new coalition. Independent candidates have become the targets of the leading parties as lobbying efforts have intensified. The Governor-General will wait until next week to call a meeting to elect the new Prime Minister, allowing time for all elected members to return to the capital Honiara and for the official results to be published.

The Solomon Islands economy is in a "precarious" situation, according to the Central Bank Governor, who calls for urgent economic reforms. Both the OUR Party and CARE Coalition party have policies on economic reforms. Sogavare accuses the United States and its Western allies of trying to unseat him from office, claiming the narrow margin of his victory was expected.

Key Takeaways

  • 4 opposition parties formed CARE coalition to challenge PM Sogavare's party
  • Recent election did not produce clear winner, CARE has 20 of 50 seats
  • Sogavare's security pact with China raises concerns among Western allies
  • Solomon Islands economy in precarious state, both parties propose reforms
  • Sogavare accuses US and allies of trying to unseat him from office