The government is closely following the political situation in the Solomon Islands as the Pacific ally prepares to vote for a prime minister in an election that could determine the future of ties between the two nations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and its embassy in Honiara are keeping in close contact with each of the nation’s political parties after general elections on April 3 failed to give any party a parliamentary majority, spokesperson Andrew Lee (李憲章) said.
The Solomon Islands would soon have a coalition government, but there are “too many variables” to determine when it would happen, Lee said.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
“We will make sure to keep close and friendly relations with every major political figure to ensure our diplomatic relations remain stable with the new administration,” Lee said.
Several media reports cited a number of senior politicians, including Acting Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Hou, as saying that they would review diplomatic relations with Taiwan if elected.
Members of parliament are today to vote on who should head the new government, Radio New Zealand reported on Friday last week.
The two candidates are Mathew Wale and Manasseh Sogavare, the report said.
Wale was nominated by his Grand Coalition Group (GCG), while Sogavare was nominated by the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement.
Hou is part of Sogavare’s coalition, which claims to have the support of 33 lawmakers in the 50-member parliament, while the GCG said it is backed by 28 lawmakers.
Parliamentarians are to vote in secret ballots, with the winning coalition needing at least 26 votes.
Claims of support are typical in the Solomon Islands, where party loyalties are constantly shifting, making it impossible to know what the winning coalition will look like or how it will approach relations with Taiwan.
To further solidify ties, the ministry last month signed a memorandum of understanding in which Taiwan is to offer “strategic loans” reportedly totaling up to NT$900 million (US$29.17 million) to help the Pacific country build a national stadium for the 2023 Pacific Games.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease