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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Solomons PM's resignation sparks celebrations

By Sean Dorney (ABC News Online)
News source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/


There are scenes of jubilation on the streets of the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, after the resignation of the prime minister Snyder Rini.

The Solomon Islands public was excluded from the Parliament, which was guarded by Australian and New Zealand soldiers and police.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation carried a live broadcast of Mr Rini's decision to resign.

Mr Rini says he quit because he lost support, as well as in the interests of the country moving forward.

The celebrations swept up and down the streets of Honiara for several hours.

"We are very happy, yes! This is what we need, yes!" one man said.

Nominations for a new election of a prime minister by the Members of Parliament are expected to be called this afternoon.

A vote could be taken on Monday.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says he hopes a stable government can be formed in the Solomon Islands.

Mr Downer says he hopes a new leader can be found and elected by the Solomon Islands Parliament.

"It's very important that there is a free and unencumbered vote by the parliament, that they vote on the basis of their conscience and of course their political leanings and inclinations and their judgment, and that they choose a government that will serve the people of the Solomon Islands well," he said.

Labor's Pacific Islands spokesman Bob Sercombe says the resignation of Mr Rini provides for a possible circuit breaker to the recent unrest.

"What's needed for long-term stability in the Solomons is a sense of optimism and a sense of hope amongst Solomon Islanders that they've got a future economically, that they've got jobs, that they've got the opportunity of rising standards of living," he said.

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