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By Evan Wasuka

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 12) – The Secretary of the Solomon Islands Social Credit Party, Sri Ramon Quitales, says former Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare has the numbers to become the country’s next Prime Minister.

Mr Quitales said the East Choiseul member has the support of 29 members who will meet on the eve of the Prime Minister’s election.

Mr Quitales refused to divulge to Solomon Star who the 29 members were but said they all share the same goal of placing the country’s leadership in the hands of Mr Sogavare.

The grouping, according to Mr Quitales is made up of former members of the caretaker Government and new members of Parliament.

With the opening of nominations today, Mr Sogavare will need the support of at least four members to become a candidate in the Prime Minister’s election.

Mr Sogavare, the leader of the Socred Party, was Prime Minister in 2000 and was in office for a year before he was ousted by Sir Allan Kemakeza.

With parties intensifying their lobbying for the support of independent members in the lead-up to the Prime Minister’s election, the face of the new government is still unclear with competing party claims.

The Association of Independent Members of Parliament currently claims to have the support of 24 members while East Honiara member Charles Dausabea told Radio Australia he has the backing of eight members.

[PIR editor’s note: According to a story yesterday in the Solomon Star, leadership of Association of Independent Members of Parliament could fall on the shoulders of former deputy Prime Minister Snyder Rini or one of the group’s founders, Edward Huniehu. Rini represents Marovo in the Western Solomons while Huniehu represents East Are’are on the island of Malaita.]

April 13, 2006

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