The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare yesterday launched a Constitutional Congress to assist in the finalization of the Draft Federal Constitution.

Sogavare stated that the Constitutional Congress will consist of 32 persons representing the nine provinces in Solomon Islands. "The Congress will also work alongside 17 distinguished Solomon Islanders who will be able to share their collective wisdom and experience as national leaders," said Sogavare. "The Congress will also be gender balanced with youths represented."

Sogavare stated that the Congress will ensure that the final constitution reflects the social and political realities of Solomon Islands. "The new constitution will reflect our diversity in a federal union and it will uniquely be our own," Sogavare said.

The Congress will work closely with the Constitutional Reform Unit and is expected to complete its job by October of 2008. "It is a very important objective of this government and we will see to it that we will establish it in our time in office." The Government has budgeted 2.8 million dollars for the work of the congress and it will be funded entirely by the SI government.