Concept: Political Parties
The first Solomon Islands political party was the Democratic Party, announced in June 1965, with Mariano Kelesi (q.v.) as President and Australian businessman Eric V. Lawson (q.v.) as Secretary. It was short-lived, and the next party was Solomons United National Party in 1968, formed by Bill Ramsay, David Kausimae (q.v.) and Frank Wickham that existed in name only until 1972. In 1971, a Political Forum was held in Honiara where leading Solomon Islanders spoke in favour of adopting the Westminster system and called on Governing Council (q.v.) members to form one political party.
This never occurred. Two other members of the Governing Council founded political parties soon after: Peter Salaka (q.v.) attempted to form the Labour Democratic Party, and Joe Bryan tried to form the Peoples Protection Party (PPP). The latter began on Rere plantation in east Guadalcanal among local leaders from the area between Bokokimbo River and the Kaukau district to combat government forestry policy. The local member of the Legislative Council was Baddeley Devesi (q.v.), who was advised by Joe Bryan. The PPP was the first environmental protection group, and, although a regional party, it was responsible for changes passed in the 1969 Forests and Timber Ordinance. Benedict Kinika (q.v.), Dr Gideon Zoloveke (q.v.) and Ashley Wickham (q.v.) began the United Solomon Islands Party on 27 July 1973, which lapsed late in 1973 but was revived in 1974. (Kakamora Reporter, Aug. 1973) Willie Betu (q.v.) at this time formed The Independent Group, a consolidation of independent members.
After the 1973 election all of the twenty-three elected members of the Governing Council met formally on 20 November and agreed to form a one-party government led by Benedict Kinika with Dr Gideon Zoleveke as deputy and Ashley Wickham as secretary. (Samuel Kuku's election had been declared invalid, hence only twenty-three, not twenty-four members.) Willie Betu (q.v.), Chairman of the Social Services Committee was appointed head of a steering committee to draw up the policies of a new party covering all elected members. The five Governing Council Chairmen were on the steering committee: Willie Betu, Phillip Solodia Funifaka (q.v.), Solomon Mamaloni (q.v.), Kausimae and Zoleveke. The request for the meeting came from the Chairman of the United Solomon Islands Party (USIPA), Benedict Kinika(q.v.). In a strange move, the USIPA agreed to disband its party and to form a new party in March 1974, which kept the old name. (NS 14 Dec. 1973)
This was opposed by Solomon Mamaloni (q.v.), who organized a new party which would then become the Opposition. Mamaloni then withdrew his initial plan but in January 1974 formed the Peoples Progressive Party.
In February 1975, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu (q.v.) founded and became President of the Solomon Islands General Workers Union. He formed the Coalition Opposition Group, which later became the Nationalists Party to contest the June 1976 election, in which he became a member of the Legislative Assembly. (SND 14 May 1976, 26 Aug. 1977) The party also published a weekly newspaper during 1977 and changed its name to the National Democratic Party in 1977. Kausimae and Faneta Sirra (q.v.) began the Rural Alliance Party in 1977, which in 1980 merged with the PPP, led by Mamaloni, to form the People's Alliance Party. There was also a Melanesian Action Party, which seems to have only existed on paper and never was active. Also in 1977, Peter Kenilorea (q.v.) formed the Solomon Islands United Party. (NS 15 June 1965; Paia 1975, 83; Kenilorea 2008, 209, 265; Ulufa'alu 1983; Betu 1983; Kausimae 1983; STT 12 Oct. 1977; Premdas and Steeves 1981)
- Kenilorea, Peter, Tell It As It Is: Autobiography of Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Kenilorea, KBE, PC, Solomon Islands' First Prime Minister, Clive Moore, Centre for Asia-Pacific Area Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei, 2008, xxxvi, 516 pp. pp. Details
- Betu, Willy, 'The Origins of the Independent Group', in Peter Larmour;Sue Tarua (ed.), Solomon Islands Politics, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1983, pp. 107-113. Details
- Kausimae, David, 'The Origins of the People's Alliance Party', in Peter Larmour;Sue Tarua (ed.), Solomon Islands Politics, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1983, pp. 114-116. Details
- Ulufa'alu, Bart, 'The Development of Political Parties', in Peter Larmour;Sue Tarua (ed.), Solomon Islands Politics, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1983, pp. 101-106. Details
- Solomons News Drum, 1974-1982. Details
- Solomon Toktok, 1977-1992. Details
- British Solomon Islands Protectorate (ed.), British Solomon Islands Protectorate News Sheet (NS), 1955-1975. Details
- Paia, Warren A., 'Aspects of Constitutional Development in the Solomon Islands', Journal of Pacific History, vol. 10, no. 2, 1975, pp. 81-89. Details
- Premdas, Ralph R., and Jeffrey S. Steeves, 'The Solomon Islands: First Elections after Independence', Journal of Pacific History, vol. 16, no. 3/4, 1981, pp. 190-202. Details