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Monday, November 12, 2007

Solomon Islands' GCC government in crisis

Nine ministers, including deputy Prime Minister Toswell Kaua, and three backbenchers in government have resigned because they no longer have confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

They have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 15 Opposition MPs which stipulates that they now have the number to oust the Prime Minister through a vote of no confidence in Parliament.

SIBC News understands a delegation of the defected ministers and government backbenchers have been to Government House this afternoon with the M-O-U, and to discuss with the Governor General the need to call for an urgent meeting of Parliament.

The M-O-U has not taken any position on who could become Prime Minister should this group form a new government.

It's understood the group's immediate priority is to remove the Prime Minister and his coalition government.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare claims he still has the support of MPs in his government, saying he will not resign.

The Prime Minister says, he would rather that Parliament voted him out of office because it was Parliament which voted him in.

Mr Sogavare says he is yet to receive any resignation letter from the nine ministers. He says the letters were addressed to the Governor General not the Prime Minister.

Commenting on the M-O-U which the nine ministers and three backbenchers signed with Opposition MPs, the Prime Minister says it's only a list of signatures and nothing more.

Mr Sogavare however says he has sacked Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and National Planning and Aid Coordination Minister Steve Abana.

He says Mr Abana was sacked for insubordination, whilst Mr Lilo was sacked for alleged abuse of public funds.

It is not clear if the two ministers were sacked before they could resign.

Both resignations were handed to Government House this morning and they became effective today.

Mr Lilo who until Thursday last week was Finance and Treasury Minister says he will release his reasons for leaving government at a later date.

National Planning and Aid Coordination Minister Mr Abana says he no longer accepts Prime Minister Sogavare's style of leadership.

Mr Abana's resignation came a day after he issued a statement calling on the Prime Minister to step aside.

Source: SIBC

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