IB2017/8 Political Instability Reforms in Melanesia — Addressing a Problem or a Symptom?

SSGM In Brief

Author/s (editor/s):

Anthony Regan

Publication year:

2017

Publication type:

In Brief

Political instability, in the form of frequent motions of no confidence, has become a major source of concern in the years after independence in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Constitutional and statutory reforms to reduce the incidence of such motions have been developed in PNG (2002) and Solomon Islands (2014), and have been considered in Vanuatu since early 2016. But are the constitutional and legal frameworks supposedly conducive to instability the key factor, or is political instability better seen as a symptom of deeper problems of social accountability not readily susceptible to constitutional remedies (Regan 2010)? This In Brief focuses on PNG experience to examine whether the reforms so far attempted or considered are likely to make positive contributions, or will instead intensify deeper problems of which instability is but a symptom.

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