9 Aug 2007

Solomons PM seeks court ruling to thwart no confidence vote

1:53 pm on 9 August 2007

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has served summons on both the Speaker of Parliament, Sir Peter Kenilorea, and the intending mover of a no confidence motion, Edward Huni'ehu.

The motion was expected to be put to a vote tomorrow.

Mr Sogavare has filed an originating summons with the High Court in which he wants the court to rule on a number of legal questions relating to the speaker's conduct in relation to the motion.

He is seeking a court ruling on whether Sir Peter contravened section 94-1 of the constitution and is guilty of misconduct in office when he publicly expressed his personal opinion on a subject matter which will be raised in the no confidence motion.

The Prime Minister is also seeking a declaration that the motion contravenes Standing orders 36-three and 27-three because it raises questions on which parliament has already taken decisions.

The police say security will be intensified in the capital, Honiara, ahead of tomorrow's sitting of parliament.

The head of the regional Participating Police Force, Denis McDermott, says more than 400 officers will be available to maintain law and order in Honiara.

Rioting broke out last year after Snyder Rini was elected prime minister.

Businesses owned by ethnic Chinese were looted and burned, forcing Mr Rini to resign and bringing Mr Sogavare to power.