14 Dec 2007

Security forces patrol Solomons capital after vote of no confidence in PM

10:46 am on 14 December 2007

Security forces in Solomon Islands patrolled the streets of the capital, Honiara, last night after after the ousting of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in a vote of no confidence.

The motion, moved by Mr Sogavare's former education minister, Dr Derrick Sikua received 25 votes, three more than the government side.

.Mr Sogavare came to power in May last year in the wake of devastating riots sparked by the election of Snyder Rini as prime minister, who days later was forced to quit.

Opposition leader Fred Fono, who accused Mr Sogavare of arrogance and sending the Solomons' international reputation plummeting, said MPs would vote on a new prime minister in the next few days after a new government had been formed.

Our correspondent in Honiara Dorothy Wickham predicts an improvement in relations with countries such as Australia.

"I think there will a be a bit of a drastic change in our international relations and the way this Government views the world compared to the previous Government. I think RAMSI might have a better relationship with this grouping."

Dorothy Wickham.

Mr Sogavare said yesterday he accepted the vote of 25 to 22 against him, was proud to have served the nation, and was "stepping out in humility".

He had been under pressure since nine of his ministers and three backbenchers deserted his government early last month.

His support had also been eaten away by his attacks on RAMSI, which has strong support among Solomon Islanders, and the stagnation of the nation's economy.