Solomon Islands PM survives no-confidence vote after unrest
Situation remains tense in Honiara as opposition accuses Manasseh Sogavare of being ‘in the service of a foreign power’.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare won the support of 32 legislators, while 15 voted against him [File: Robert Taupongi/ AFP]
6 Dec 2021
Correction7 Dec 2021
This story mistakenly referred to a National Provident Fund. This has now been corrected.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has survived a no-confidence motion in parliament after accusing “agents of Taiwan” of orchestrating the bid to remove him.
The pro-China leader won the support of 32 legislators on Monday, while 15 voted against him.
The vote came weeks after anti-government riots in the Pacific nation’s capital, Honiara, that left four people dead and dozens of buildings looted and burned down.
The violence broke out after Sogavare refused to speak with protesters who had travelled from the nation’s most populous province of Malaita, which complains of neglect by the central government and is also opposed to Honiara’s decision to switch diplomatic allegiance to China from Taiwan.
Amid fears that the result of Monday’s no-confidence vote could trigger more violence, boats were banned from Honiara harbour, and more than 200 police and soldiers from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea were on alert.
The prime minister, now in his fourth stint in office, told legislators in parliament that he had not done anything wrong and would not submit to “calls to resign by Taiwan’s agents”.
Blaming the Malaita provincial government for the riots, Sogavare said “the call for me to resign and this motion was made against the backdrop of an illegal attempted coup”.
Taiwan has denied involvement in the unrest.
Smoke rises above buildings after days of unrest in Honiara, November 25 [Jone Tuiipelehaki/via Reuters]
Sogavare said his cabinet made the decision to switch ties because China was an economic powerhouse, adding that it was unlawful for provinces to engage in diplomatic relations with other countries.
China’s embassy in the Solomons said any attempt to damage bilateral ties between China and the Solomon Islands was doomed to fail, adding that China-Solomons Islands ties will overcome all difficulties.
Earlier, opposition leader Matthew Wale told parliament that Sogavare was “in the service of a foreign power” and accused the prime minister of using money from China in a national fund to prop up his political strength before the no-confidence vote.
A Government Gazette notice dated December 2 shows money was withdrawn from the National Development Fund (NDF) in the name of 22 legislators in recent days.
“The Prime Minister is dependent on the NDF money to maintain his political strength. How can he make decisions only in the interests of the Solomon Islands?” said Wale.
The people of the Solomon Islands are angry at inadequate healthcare, prime land being taken by foreigners, and logging companies overriding local interests, Wale said.
The looting and violence that erupted on November 24 must be condemned, he said, but “it pales in comparison to the looting that happens at the top”.
Malaita has a history of disputes with Guadalcanal province, where the national government is based, and it opposed the switch by Sogavare’s government in 2019 to formally recognise China instead of Taiwan.
Its premier, Daniel Suidani, has banned Chinese companies from working in Malaita and has accepted aid from the United States.
About 1,000 people gathered in the provincial capital of Auki to listen to a livestream of the parliament session, a political aide to Suidani told the Reuters news agency.
Suidani is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday outlining a referendum for independence for Malaita, the adviser, Celsus Talifilu, said by telephone.
Aus­tralia de­ploys troops to Solomon Is­lands as ri­ots con­tin­ue
Un­rest rocks cap­i­tal for a sec­ond day with ri­ot­ers tar­get­ing Chi­na­town amid es­ca­lat­ing in­ter-is­land ten­sions..
25 Nov 2021
In re­mote Pa­cif­ic is­lands, busi­ness­es look lo­cal to sur­vive COVID
Pa­cif­ic is­land na­tions saw their economies shrink an es­ti­mat­ed 5.8 per­cent in 2020 amid a col­lapse in tourism.
22 Nov 2021
How a med­ical evac­u­a­tion ex­posed Solomon Is­lands’ Chi­na chal­lenge
Ten­sions are mount­ing af­ter a promi­nent op­po­nent of the coun­try’s ‘One Chi­na’ pol­i­cy was flown to Tai­wan for treat­ment.
8 Jun 2021
Solomons gov­ern­ment says Chi­na is­land lease ‘un­law­ful’
Deal to lease en­tire Tu­la­gi is­land was signed a day af­ter Chi­na and the Solomons of­fi­cial­ly es­tab­lished diplo­mat­ic ties.
25 Oct 2019
US gives $2.5m for Tonga disaster relief, as aid gathers pace
Burkina Faso: Military coup prompts fears of further instability
US justice to retire, giving Biden his first Supreme Court pick
Cricket: Six-team Pakistan Super League set for Karachi, Lahore
A simple guide to the Ukraine-Russia crisis: 5 things to know
US and NATO deliver responses to Russian demands over Ukraine
Latest Ukraine updates: US formally responds to Russia’s demands
Game over for India’s booming online gaming Industry?
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.