7 Oct 2008

Solomons PM denies claims of split in government coalition

10:09 pm on 7 October 2008

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua has denied claims from the opposition that there is a split in his government.

The opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare claims that the move by a number of ministers and backbenchers to the newly formed Solomons National Alliance Party or SNAP is evidence of a growing split in the government.

Dr Sikua says there is no problem with this and that it has been openly discussed within the caucus, adding that his coalition government still includes 41 of the 50 MPs in parliament.

He has also dismissed speculation that Finance Minister, Snyder Rini, who has been offered leadership of the new party, could take over the Prime Ministership.

However Mr Rini has declined the SNAP offer as he is currently the parliamentary leader of the Association of Independents Group.

Meanwhile, Dr SIkua has confirmed he will attend his court hearing for an alleged traffic offence on October 21st.

He has clarified to local media that the alleged incident occurred in February 2006 when he was simply a private citizen - after he had left the public service and before he entered parliament as an MP.