Pacific Change Makers: Solomon Islands - Democracy in the balance?

Pacific Change Makers: Solomon Islands - Democracy in the balance?

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In this episode of the Pacific Change Makers, the Director of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program, Dr Meg Keen, speaks with Dr Anouk Ride from the Australian National University about the upcoming Solomon Islands’ election and its implications for stability and democracy in the region. Anouk draws on over 15 years living in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara and her extensive experience analysing peace, stability and community resilience in the Pacific.   

Solomon Islands elections can coincide with political and civil instability as competing power factions jostle for dominance. “Whether democracy itself survives this vote, and also the years after” is a concern for Dr Anouk Ride.

This election is particularly significant for the country and the global community. All will be watching to see if the current Prime Minister Sogavare returns and continues to draw closer to China. But more than geopolitics is at stake. The country is facing increasing economic pressures and tensions between the capital and provinces.

On 17 April, 50 members of parliament will head to the capital to select the next Prime Minister. This is known as ‘Devil’s Night’, where money and personal interests intertwine in the process to select a new national leader. All hope for a peaceful outcome but that is not guaranteed. As Anouk points out there are several flashpoints over the next six months, and any could trigger unrest if not well managed. 

Join us as we explore what is shaping the processes and issues in this election, and its implications for security and democracy.



Areas of expertise: Pacific Islands development and security, resource management, human security and resilience.