12 Oct 2006

Solomon Islands' PM survives no-confidence motion

12:16 pm on 12 October 2006

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has survived a no-confidence vote to oust him from office.

The no confidence motion was moved by Parliamentary Opposition Leader Fred Fono describing Mr Sogavare as an embarassment to the country.

He cited the prime minister's ongoing diplomatic stoush with Canberra over his ejection of Australian high commissioner Patrick Cole last month and his defence of his now-suspended attorney-general, Australian lawyer Julian Moti.

Only 17 of the parliament's 50 MPs voted for the motion, while 28 voted against it, 5 others were absent including the 2-MP's in police custody since April for alleged offences relating to the Honiara April 18 Riot.

Mr Sogavare has accused Australia of using the Opposition to try to oust him, saying he would not bow to Canberra's demands.

Julian Moti is in custody in Honiara charged with illegal entry into the Solomons after escaping Port Moresby on a PNG military flight to avoid arrest and extradition to Australia, where he is wanted to face child sex charges.