What the ousted PM and the new intending PM said before and after the no confidence motion yesterday
Yesterday we witnessed the resignation of the country's shortest serving PM, Hon Snyder Rini. Today we learn that the defected MP from Rini's Coalition and leader of the SOCRED Party, Hon Sogavare, is the Opposition's frontman for the new Prime Ministerial post. Below is an ABC Lateline Programme extract of what the ousted PM and the new intending PM candidate have said prior to and after the "no confidence motion" yesterday.
TONY JONES: There's been jubilation in the streets of Honiara following the resignation of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Snyder Rini. Mr Rini decided to quit after realising he didn't have the numbers to defeat a 'no confidence' motion in parliament today. The new prime minister-in-waiting was immediately greeted by cheering crowds and, as he told the ABC's Phillip Williams, his government will fight for peace, unity and stability in the country.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: With the public excluded from parliament, snipers at the ready, it was the Prime Minister, Snyder Rini, who was ambushed by defectors from his own government. Last night, he was in command...
SNYDER RINI, FORMER SOLOMONS PRIME MINISTER: I am confident that I can survive tomorrow with my 25 votes.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: ..but today, as the opposition bus was clearly carrying more weight than his, Snyder Rini's prime ministership looked doomed. Absolutely confident?
MAN: More than confident.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: Inside parliament, the opposition offered the Prime Minister two choices: jump or be pushed.
SNYDER RINI: I have no alternative but to tender my resignation forthwith as the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: Word quickly spread through Honiara: the Prime Minister was finished. Up and down the main street, it was political party time. Outside the opposition hotel, it was pure jubilation. When Snyder Rini was elected Prime Minister, there were riots. Today, this explosion is a celebration, everyone hoping this could be the start of a return to normality. And this is the man likely to lead them: Manasseh Sogavare. He defected from the government today, and on Monday expects to be prime minister of this fractured nation. Why did change sides? What made you swap?
MANASSEH SOGAVARE, PRIME MINISTERIAL CANDIDATE: It's in for the interests of the unity and stability of the country, which has gone through a period of turmoil over the last couple of days when the parliament elected the Prime Minister. And, as leaders, we, you know, we listen to the voice of the people and I think that is what democracy is all about.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: What can you offer that the past government can't offer in these incredibly turbulent times?
MANASSEH SOGAVARE: I guess, address this issue sensitively. Confrontation is not the way to address issues in this country. That's been proven over the last couple of years when the ethnic tension arise, when we approach it in confrontational way, we went nowhere. And so, um, my government will address this thing - well, if we are elected to power, we will address this thing very sensitively in a way people understand, you know, culture and custom.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: There's a lot of celebration here now but, of course, Snyder Rini had his supporters. Are you expecting any sort of backlash?
MANASSEH SOGAVARE: No, no. I don't expect that. I think people - just see for yourself. There's a jubilation. There's been jubilation throughout the week.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: There's a lot of work to be done repairing the damage of the past week. What can you do to actually bring these fractured lines together again?
MANASSEH SOGAVARE: Well, well, it's about listening more than talking less. And, of course, we will, you know, address these things properly when the cabinet is formed and look at ways of addressing it. You know, we need to get views from outside cabinet, if there is necessary, because, you know, that is how to address situations in this country.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: Australia has poured a lot of money and effort into this place only to see the riots erupt and so much damage done. How can you assure the Australian people, the Australian taxpayers, that this effort and money is all worth it and it won't all unwind again?
MANASSEH SOGAVARE: Well, they can get it straight from me now - that, you know, we are all for peace and unity and stability of the country. You know that is what this group, you know, really strongly believes in and we will ensure that we achieve that objective. And we want to assure, especially Australia, that's done so much for this country, that they are friends and that they will continue to be friends.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: And on Monday, will I be addressing you as Mr Prime Minister?
MANASSEH SOGAVARE: Definitely.
PHILLIP WILLIAMS: Thanks for joining Lateline.
Reporter: Phillip Williams
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Lateline TV Programme Transcript