February 2023 | Critical governor removed from office
The prominent critic of the central government, Daniel Suidani was removed as Premier of Malaita Province in a no-confidence vote on 7 February, sparking protests in the provincial capital of Auki. The provincial parliament accused Suidani of corruption, but he rejected both the charges and the legality of the vote and said he planned to challenge it in court. Suidani has been a key critic of the 2019 decision to switch the country’s diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, and it was a protest against that decision that devolved into riots in November 2021. Suidani’s removal signals a further deterioration of already-poor relations between Malaita and the national government. Observers cited the increasing geopolitical contestation between China and the United States in the country and political positioning before the national elections due in 2024 as key context for the move.
August 2022 | Pressure on public broadcaster
The government accused the public broadcaster of a “lack of ethics and professionalism” for covering riots and a no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister, and moved to take more direct control of the organization. This has sparked concerns over censorship.