23 Oct 2015

Solomons capital on alert

4:48 pm on 23 October 2015

Police in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, have gone on high alert over a risk of political unrest following moves to unseat the government.

The Police Commissioner Frank Prendergast has appealed to the public to remain calm and allow the national leaders time to discuss issues affecting the country.

Mr Prendergast says increased patrolling will continue through the weekend into next week alongside increased community engagement to explain police security preparations for the motion of no confidence on Friday.

"The message is clearly that what is occurring at the moment is part of the parliamentary system it is what happens in parliamentary democracies and the issues that have been raised all need to be sorted out in the appropriate way on the floor of parliament. That being said we will clearly be preparing to ensure that if something does occur that we are positioned to respond to it."

Seven ministers have resigned but the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says he welcomes a motion of no confidence against his leadership to be voted on next week.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, speaking at the UN.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, speaking at the UN. Photo: UN

The clerk to Parliament has confirmed the motion submitted by the opposition leader, Jeremiah Manele, will now be heard next Friday after yesterday's failed attempt by Mr Sogavare to have parliament adjourned until the beginning of December.

Government House has confirmed that seven of ministers, including his deputy, Douglas Ete, have resigned.

They include the former Minister of Forests who had become the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Bodo Dettke.

Opposition politicians and the group of independent MPs are understood to be in talks to consolidate their numbers ahead of the motion.

The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency Solomon Islands is calling on leaders to avoid employing illegal lobbying practices citing the precedent set by the arrest and conviction of 14 MPs in neighbouring Vanuatu as a warning.

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