8 Aug 2006

Solomon Islands opposition says coalition government numbers are fragile

3:10 pm on 8 August 2006

The Solomon Islands opposition leader, Fred Fono, says he has had discussions with the National Party over the future of the coalition government, after its leader, Francis Billy Hilly, was sacked from cabinet.

The National party has 7 MPs and there is uncertainty about whether it will remain with the coalition.

The prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, says the remaining National Party MPs have signed a personal pledge of loyalty to the coalition and to his leadership after he sacked Mr Billy Hilly.

But, Mr Fono says the numbers are fragile and politics are volatile.

"We are open to dialogue and consultation with the parties concerned. I've already spoken to the leader of the National party and we're quite prepared to further discuss options that are available. If they're dissatisfied with the current prime minister for taking shots on their party leader, we're prepared to regroup and form the government."

Mr Fono says if the National Party joined his side, which comprises the Association of Independent Members and the People's Alliance party, they could have the numbers to overturn the government.