25 Aug 2010

Solomons MPs elect Philip as new PM

2:45 pm on 25 August 2010

MPs in Solomon Islands have voted in a new Prime Minister.

The winner is Danny Philip who defeated the only other contender Steve Abana.

Mr Philip is the leader of the Solomon Islands Reformed Democratic Party and as an MP he represents Rendova Tetepare in Western Province.

In the past 15 years, he has also twice served as foreign minister.

In today's poll, Mr Philip won 26 votes while the other contender, Mr Abana, who is the leader of the Solomon Islands Democratic Party, secured 23 votes.

There was one spoilt vote.

Our correspondent in Honiara, Dorothy Wickham says there was some last minute vote trading:

"I think there was a lot of uncertainty in the early hours of the morning. It wasn't really clear, there was a lot of speculation that some members would be crossing the floor , but then the outcome, the number was very much closer to what the media was reporting that the Danny Philip group had, the confirmed number of 26, that was round about four or five o'clock local time this morning and basically he held on to that number until the final vote."

Dorothy Wickham says despite high security the situation in the capital has been calm.

Immediately after his election, Mr Philip dedicated his victory to his disabled mother, supporters and people of Solomon Islands.

He is expected to announce his new cabinet in a few days, adding that his government's policy document will be ready in 70 days.