Cultural Artefact: Constitution of 1978



National Parliament (1978-)

The independence constitution was the product of intensive local consultation over two years, precedent from other British dependencies and the advice of constitutional experts. The British Monarch became the head of state, represented by a Governor-General elected by Parliament to a five-year term. There was a single-chamber National Parliament based on Westminster principles, with separation of the executive and the legislature. Executive power was held by a Cabinet, which was headed by a Prime Minister. The powers of the Governor-General were quite limited and the legislature had the power to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister. The Constitution specified between thirty and fifty constituencies; there were thirty-eight at independence, increased to forty-seven in 1993. (Kenilorea 2008, 215-234; Paia 1975; Saemala 1983)

Published resources


  • Kenilorea, Peter, Tell It As It Is: Autobiography of Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Kenilorea, KBE, PC, Solomon Islands' First Prime Minister, Clive Moore, Centre for Asia-Pacific Area Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei, 2008, xxxvi, 516 pp. pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Saemala, Francis, 'Constitutional Development', in Peter Larmour;Sue Tarua (ed.), Solomon Islands Politics, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1983, pp. 1-8. Details

Journal Articles

  • Paia, Warren A., 'Aspects of Constitutional Development in the Solomon Islands', Journal of Pacific History, vol. 10, no. 2, 1975, pp. 81-89. Details