Parliamentary Chamber: National Parliament


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  National Parliament

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  6 August 1997

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  General elections (for 47 seats) had previously been held in May 1993. According to the final results at that time, the Group for National Unity and Reconciliation led by Mr. Solomon Mamaloni was the overall winner; nevertheless, Mr. Francis Billy Hilly, supported by the opposition coalition, was narrowly elected Prime Minister by Parliament. In November 1994, Mr. Mamaloni avenged this defeat and gained his third term as Head of the Government through a parliamentary vote after Mr. Hilly had resigned on 31 October. On taking office, the former stated that among his main objectives were several political and constitutional changes as well as a thorough review of the country’s timber logging policy. In late 1994, it was announced that many of the regulations introduced by the previous Government, in an attempt to conserve the islands’ forestry resources, were to be repealed or relaxed. The Mamaloni administration’s continued reluctance to implement regulations to restrain logging activity remained a source of controversy through 1995 and into 1996.

This particular issue, along with economic management in general and political corruption, figured among those debated during the campaign; personality politics were often of equal importance in certain constituencies. Altogether nine parties and 350 candidates vied for the enlarged Parliament’s 50 seats. On 9 May, the Electoral Commission had moved up the polling date by one month, to 6 August.

Due to the scattering of the archipelago over a wide area, vote counting took several days. Finally, on 27 August, Mr. Bartholomew Ulufa'alu became Prime Minister; his coalition Government, however, holds only a narrow two-seat majority (26 to 24). Mr. Ulufa'alu is leader of the Liberal Party which is affiliated to the Alliance for Change, a new coalition of independents and smaller parties. The new Cabinet was announced on 29 August.

Round no 1 (6 August 1997): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 140'626

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Alliance for Change 26
Group for National Unity and Reconciliation 24

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 48
Women: 1
Percent of women: 2.00

Distribution of seats according to age:  
31 to 40 years 7
41 to 50 years 28
51 to 60 years 13
61 to 70 years 1

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Copyright 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union