Pacific predictions: 2019
2019 is going to be a busy year for the Pacific.
A number of Pacific island countries will hold national elections this year. The peoples of Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Tuvalu, and Marshall Islands will all go to the polls in 2019. In Tuvalu, PM Enele Sesene Sopoaga will be hoping that his increased presence and activity in the realm of global climate diplomacy will not prove an impediment to success at home. Similarly, President Hilda Heine in Marshall Islands will be looking to secure something more substantial than the very narrow margin by which she defeated a motion of no confidence last year.
Solomon Islands’ first general elections since the end of RAMSI will test the capacity of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. Despite having been Prime Minister for such a short period of time, incumbent Rick Hou claims to have achieved some significant milestones and has managed to progress some important legislative reforms, including passage of the Anti-Corruption Act. These elections will be conducted under the aegis of recently-enacted changes to the electoral law. Hou will be hoping to reap the political benefits of an increase in the minimum wage awarded just before Parliament was dissolved. There is also ongoing concern about the impacts of mining, including complaints that insufficient benefits are accruing to communities.
Self-determination and independence are never far from people’s minds in the Pacific, and we are currently in a period where these issues are even more present than usual. The referendum in New Caledonia last year saw the territory elect to remain part of France but with a much stronger showing for independence from France than many had anticipated, and …read more