8 Aug 2006

Solomon Islands prime minister asks for personal pledges of loyalty

6:24 pm on 8 August 2006

The Solomon Islands Social Credit party believes the coalition government will remain in place despite the sacking from cabinet of Francis Billy Hilly, the leader of the National party.

The prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, says the other National party ministers have signed personal pledges of loyalty to the coalition and to his leadership.

He says his Social Credit party represents the largest bloc in the coalition so he doesn't believe that the sacking of Mr Billy Hilly will threaten the stability of the government.

"They are only seven. The party that I'm leading is now 19 so we're a majority in the coalition. I do not see any threat and I think, this whole issue is a concern that the people of Solomon Islands have and they fully support the move that I've taken."

Mr Sogavare says he sacked Mr Billy Hilly because he refused to denounce a memorandum of understanding that the National party signed with China last year.

He says the official stance of the coalition is that it supports Taiwan which stood by the country during the ethnic tension.