30 Apr 2006

Fono and Sogavare nominated for Solomons PM election

8:33 pm on 30 April 2006

Two acting Solomon Islands government ministers have been nominated as candidates to replace Snyder Rini in this week's election of a new prime minister.

They are the deputy prime minister, Fred Fono, and the commerce minister, Manasseh Sogavare, whose Social Credit Party withdrew its support for Mr Rini ahead of last Wednesday's planned no confidence vote.

The defection prompted Mr Rini to resign just eight days after his election had triggered unprecedented riots in Honiara.

Mr Fono is the first politician from Malaita to stand for the prime minister's job since the ethnic unrest on Guadalcanal.

Mr Sogavare, who is from Choiseul province in the country's west, became prime minister for just over a year after the 2000 coup ousted the administration led by Bartholomew Ulufaalu.

Two of the 50 MPs won't be present at Thursday's election because they are in remand on charges of inciting unrest once Mr Rini was elected.