14 Apr 2006

Outgoing Solomons Prime Minister says he will back Snyder Rini to ensure stability

4:12 pm on 14 April 2006

The Solomon Islands prime minister for the past four and a half years, Sir Allen Kemakeza, says his withdrawal from the leadership race is part of a pre-election commitment within his former coalition government.

The 50 newly elected MPs will meet on Tuesday to select the new prime minister from three candidates: former prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare; Snyder Rini, the caretaker deputy prime minister; and Job Dudley Tausinga.

Mr Rini heads the Association of Independent Members of Parliament, which was a pivotal block in the government Sir Allen led from 2001.

Sir Allen says his People's Alliance Party and the Association of Independents had agreed before the poll to maintain their coalition, to ensure stability.

"This time the Association of Independents felt they should lead the group to which I agreed upon our understanding, and said O.K. if that is the consensus then we give the Association of Independents to lead the country this time."