2 Nov 2006

Rift in Solomons ruling coalition deepens

5:14 pm on 2 November 2006

The Liberal Party leader in Solomon Islands, Bartholemow Ulufa'alu, is urging his eight MPs to withdraw their support from prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

The Solomons Star reports Mr Ulufa'alu, who was sacked as finance minister last month, as saying it's obvious Mr Sogavare is running in a divide and rule game with no regard to his coalition partners.

He says this lack of consultation with other partners has prompted his call for the liberal MPs in the government to withdraw their support from the prime minister.

Mr Sogavare says Mr Ulufa'alu was relieved of his appointment as minister of finance for the sake of the coalition's stability.

But Mr Ulufa'alu told the paper he had been sacked because he did not attend parliament during the recent motion of no confidence in Mr Sogavare.

Mr Sogavare says other Liberal Party members backed his move to drop him from the cabinet, while Mr Ulufa'alu says the party supports the government but wants a new leader.