6 Oct 2006

Solomons vote deferred amid rumoured threats

2:45 pm on 6 October 2006

A vote of no confidence in Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has been deferred until next Friday.

The opposition leader, Fred Fono, who sought to topple the five-month old government, asked for the vote to be deferred after claiming that he had the support of a majority of MPs.

Mr Fono says a number of government MPs who had indicated their support for him had received threats and were too intimidated to switch allegiance.

"A number of ministers that had signed up earlier to support the motion were receiving threats. There were allegations, rumours that if they supported the motion and Sogavare lost the position of Prime Minister there would be similar rioting in Honiara."

Mr Fono says Mr Sogavare has abused his power and undermined the sovereignty of the country by recruiting Australian lawyer Julian Moti as Attorney General.

Mr Sogavare was elected in May, two weeks after Snyder Rini resigned as prime minister amid an outcry over the riots in Honiara.