15 Aug 2006

National Party in Solomon Islands has new president

7:15 pm on 15 August 2006

The National Party in Solomon Islands will remain part of the Sogavare government despite its then leader, Francis Billy Hilly, being sacked from Cabinet last week.

The party has now chosen a new president, Warren Paia.

Mr Paia, a foreign secretary in the previous Kemakeza administration, is the first non MP to lead the party.

He has already announced that the party will not rescind its memorandum of understanding with China, saying it is a party to party agreement, and does not commit the government which gives diplomatic recognition to Taiwan.

It was Mr Billy Hilly's refusal to withdraw the MOU which led to his sacking, but Mr Paia says there is now a better understanding of the issue between the coalition partners.