15 Nov 2017

Solomons group expects Hou as new PM

7:34 am on 15 November 2017

The former Solomon Islands government is confident of holding on to power after today's parliamentary vote for a new prime minister.

A slim majority of MPs chose to oust Mr Sogavare in a vote of no-confidence last week after a series of defections from his government.

However seven opposition MPs have since joined Mr Sogavare's group, including the Small Malaita MP Rick Hou who has been nominated for prime minister.

The opposing group nominated Central Honiara MP John Moffat Fugui as its candidate.

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands overlooking Honiara City

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands overlooking Honiara City Photo: RNZ Koroi Hawkins

Central Guadalcanal MP Peter Shanel said the group behind Mr Hou was intact and supportive of the Sogavare government's policies.

"There are no problems in terms of worrying about the anti-corruption bill in our group. And the seven that moved over saw the opportunity to stabilise government, and by stabilising government we can hopefully stabilise our economy, and get government going on again for the next ten, twelve months."

The parliament is due to convene at 9:30 AM local time to elect a prime minister.

Mr Sogavare was removed with less than a year to run in the four year term of parliament.

Since he came to power for his third stint as prime minister in 2014, Mr Sogavare made various reshuffles to stave off motions of no-confidence.

However defeat in last week's vote vote came after the prime minister had lost the trust of several senior ministers in recent times.

Solomon Islands parliament

Solomon Islands parliament Photo: RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins

Still, his group is being tipped to return to power, albeit under a different leader.

Mr Shanel, who felt that the opposing group had made a waste of parliamentary time with its no-confidence motion, said Mr Hou would be a good prime minister with useful experience.

"His connections will be good, because of the name and (because) he's been around. He worked in Washington DC with the World Bank for a while and then he came back home," he said.

"He could be good for the government, particularly the aid partners," said Mr Shanel, mentioning that the former Finance Minister Snyder Rini, who defected from the Sogavare government, was not on good terms with donors like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

"Lately we have not been having a good relationship with our aid partners. But with Rick there we will perhaps be able to build the relationship back."