29 Sep 2006

Lobbying in Solomon Islands ahead of vote of no confidence in government

10:38 am on 29 September 2006

The Solomon Islands government is preparing to face a motion of no confidence on Monday when parliament meets for the first time in several months.

The opposition leader, Fred Fono, believes he has the numbers to oust the government in the wake of a diplomatic row after the Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, expelled the Australian High Commissioner for alleged meddling in politics.

Mr Fono has previously said that some government MPs are willing to switch allegiance and there has been speculation that the deputy P.M., Job Duddley Tausinga, and his Rural Advancement party may defect.

Dorothy Wickham reports from Honiara.

"There's been a lot of speculation about Tausinga crossing the floor, so far he has said that he won't be resigning. However, there are also other backbenchers, people like Peter Boyers who have spoken publicly out against what's happened so far in relation to this diplomatic row between Australia and Solomon Islands. But, I think the group to watch would be the G-block, the Guadalcanal members of parliament in this cabinet. I think if they decided to move, then Sogavare would definitely lose the vote."

Dorothy Wickham says the 5 Guadalcanal MPs include two ministers, Derek Sikua and Peter Chanel.