The coup nobody noticed: The Solomon islands Western state movement in 2000

Ian Scales

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    The most significant political consequence of the conflict in Solomon Islands between 1998 and 2000 was the widespread shift in thinking toward a federal system of government. This paper argues that long-held political aspirations for greater independence in the resource-rich Western Province were reactivated in a milieu of ethnic tension in the West, and that Western Province politicians used the visionless Malaitan coup in Honiara as a springboard for a calculated push toward their own enhanced fiscal autonomy through advocacy of a federal system. Although the West was the only region likely to increase its wealth from the kind of federalism reforms it proposed, most other provinces, following the collapse of the central government, adopted the West's well-articulated agenda. The outstanding success of the West in trumping all other parties, effectively gaining control of the negotiation on redistribution of state power, and the lack of attention this drew, can only be admired. It was the coup nobody noticed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-209
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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