25 Aug 2010

Philip new Solomon Islands PM

10:12 pm on 25 August 2010

MPs in the Solomon Islands have voted in a new prime minister, Danny Philip, who now faces the challenge of holding together his eight-party coalition.

Mr Philip is reported to have polled 26 votes, three more than his only rival Steven Abana, the leader of the Solomon Islands Democratic Party, Radio New Zealand International reports. One vote was spoilt.

Mr Philip is the leader of the Solomon Islands Reformed Democratic Party and in the past 15 years has twice served as foreign minister.

Security was high before the vote in the capital Honiara on Wednesday and the day has been declared a national holiday.

Mr Philip has sent a clear signal that the country's foreign policy will remain with Taiwan over China, AAP reports.

He says he has no intention of kicking out the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.

RAMSI was invited in 2003 to stabilise the country on brink of failed state status due to years of ethnic fighting.