13 Nov 2007

Solomons PM faces defiant opposition

10:15 pm on 13 November 2007

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has admitted the country is facing a political crisis as he resists calls to resign.

Nine Cabinet Ministers defected to the Opposition at the weekend and called on the Prime Minister to go, or face a vote of no confidence.

Don Wiseman reports.

"The rebelling MPs have failed to convince the Governor General to call a special session of Parliament. Sir Nathaniel Waena says it is not a constitutional crisis and the politicians need to resolve it themselves. Meanwhile the Prime Minister claims that three of the Ministers who resigned at the weekend have returned to the Government side and are likely to get new Cabinet posts. Earlier the Prime Minister's press officer said three backbenchers had also returned to the Government and had immediately been elevated to Cabinet rank. The former Finance Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, who led the revolt, remains defiant. He maintains that they have the support of a majority of the MPs in the 48 member parliament. Mr Lilo has come under strong attack from the Prime Minister since resigning, with Mr Sogavare accusing him of financial impropriety while Finance Minister."

Meanwhile Gordon Darcy Lilo says they are seeking legal advise on the Governor General's refusal to reconvene parliament.

Mr Lilo says the Prime Minister's support is itself losing further ground in the lobbying among MPs which was continuing on Tuesday night.