Solomons PM loses no-confidence vote

Sogavare, who has been in power since 2014, will be replaced later this month

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has lost a vote of no-confidence following a marathon debate in the Pacific Island nation's parliament, local media said Tuesday. The motion passed 27-23 in the 50-seat parliament late Monday after 17 members of Sogavare's Democratic Coalition for Change switched sides to vote against him, the Solomon Star reported. It followed almost nine hours of "vitriolic" debate when both sides hurled corruption allegations against their opponents, state broadcaster SIBC said. The result means that Sogavare, who has been in power since 2014, will be replaced later this month. He will remain as caretaker prime minister in the meantime. Sogavare has linked the defections to an anti-graft bill he planned to put before parliament, saying some MPs feared it could lead to them being jailed. "My only mistake is that I stood up against corruption and corrupt leaders," he told parliament during the debate. The lawmaker who submitted the no-confidence motion, independent Derek Sikua who was prime minister from 2007-2010, said Sogavare was out of touch and had become fixated upon conspiracy theories. "My greatest sadness is that all too often the prime minister sees fit to lower himself to submit to advice from individuals with dubious character," he said. Radio New Zealand said several lawmakers were expected to put their names forward to become the new prime minister, with parliament set to convene to address the issue later this week. It will end Sogavare's third stint as leader in the South Pacific archipelago of 650,000 people.

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