Concept: Elections


A new Constitution came into effect on 1 February 1965 which provided for the election of eight of the ten unofficial members of the Legislative Council (q.v.), with the High Commissioner nominating the other two. A general election was held in all eight constituencies on 7 April 1965. The member representing Honiara constituency was elected by direct ballot, while the other seven were chosen by an electoral college, its members chosen by the members of the Local Government Councils (q.v.). On this basis, there was one Electoral College for the Eastern District, one for the Western District, three for the Malaita District, and two for the Central District (excluding Honiara). The 1965 general election saw three former members returned, and the appearance of the first, and only, woman member of the Legislative Council, Lilly Ogatina (later Poznanski) (q.v.). (AR 1965, 3)

The first direct election occurred in May 1967. Sixty-two candidates ran for fourteen seats, and 17,689 votes were cast out of 35,101 registered voters, a turnout of 50.3 percent. In the 1970 election, the average turnout was 71.9 percent. That year 55.4 percent of the registered voters went to the polls (slightly higher than 1967's turnout), varying between 74.8 percent on Isabel and 37.7 percent in Central Malaita. There were multiple candidates (usually between two and five) in all constituencies except South Guadalcanal. Campaigning was vigorous in most electorates, particularly in the Honiara and Vella Lavella/Kolombangara electoral districts. Some candidates produced posters and manifestos, but in most electorates the style of campaigning was lower key. No political parties were involved. The results in East Guadalcanal electorate were declared invalid due to a petition based on improper marking of ballot papers, and a bye-election was held in October. (AR 1970, 5-6)

The new Governing Council (q.v.) was officially proclaimed after the 1970 general election held between 26 May and 30 June, and was constituted on 15 July 1970. Representation was extended to areas with smaller populations, such as Rennell and Bellona and Ontong Java (as Malaita Outer Islands). As before, in the Eastern Outer Islands the constituency election took place through an Electoral College, but elsewhere there was a common roll of registered voters aged twenty-one or older. The estimated potential electorate was 68,222 (excluding the Eastern Outer Islands), and 49,053 people registered as voters.

The next general election was held in 1973, based on universal adult suffrage (the age of majority being twenty-one), and 118 candidates stood for twenty-four seats. There were now 65,534 registered voters, the increase reflecting a greater interest in the electoral process and more skilful campaigning by candidates.

The last general election before independence was held in June 1976. The number of seats increased to thirty-eight, contested by 177 candidates. Of 78,646 registered voters 44,438 turned out. No votes were cast in the East 'Are'are electorate where Peter Kenilorea (q.v.) was returned unopposed.

Published resources


  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Annual Reports (AR), 1896-1973. Details