18 Dec 2002

Solomons to hold no confidence vote in Kemakeza administration

11:47 am on 18 December 2002

The Solomon Islands government says it is confident of retaining power in a vote of no confidence today.

The vote in the leadership of prime minister Sir Allen Kemakeza is being brought by the opposition leader, Patteson Oti, and comes amid increasing turmoil in government ranks.

The prime minister's advisor, Sir George Lepping, has confirmed that yesterday the agriculture minister, Edward Huniehu, was sacked and replaced by Paul Maenu.

Mr Maenu was one of six MPs who earlier this week threatened to vote against the government in the no confidence motion.

Mr Huniehu says another four ministers, including the tourism minister Alex Bartlett, have resigned but the prime minister and the governor-general say they are not aware of any such change.

Mr Oti says there is a need for a change of leader because of the prime minister's behaviour and attitude towards the difficulties the country is experiencing.

But Sir George says they do not expect the government to fall.

A vote of no confidence planned last April was called off amid claims of intimidation by both the oppostion and the government coalition.