IB 2019/18 Women’s Candidacy and the Power of Incumbency in the 2019 Solomon Islands Election
The 2019 Solomon Islands election marked the first time in the country’s history that two women were elected to parliament in a general election. Lanelle Tanangada, who had been elected in the 2018 by-election for the Gizo/Kolombangara seat formerly held by her husband, fended off another strong challenge from former prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to keep the seat. Freda Tuki Soriacomua, who won the Temotu Vatud seat in 2014 but was removed from office in 2018 following a court challenge, regained her seat in 2019. While this is a milestone, the under-representation of women in Solomon Islands politics is a continued tradition. As of October 2019, women make up just 4% of members of the national parliament, and around 2% of provincial assembly members. This In Brief examines trends and patterns from the 2019 Solomon Islands election and their effect on women’s representation.