SOLOMONS PARLIAMENT ELECTS KEMAKEZA AS SPEAKER

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The former prime minister wins clear majority

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 7, 2010) - The new Solomon Islands parliament has today held its first meeting since the general elections early last month, and elected a new Speaker.

He is former Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza who was elected by the new members of parliament by a clear majority of 27 votes in the first ballot. The runner up was former Prime Minister, Francis Billy Hilly got 17 votes and former Deputy Prime Minister, Fred Fono got four.

[PIR editor’s note: Solomon Times report that Sir Allan Kemakeza has represented the Savo/Russel constituency since 1989. From 2001 to 2006, he served as the seventh Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands. Before then, he held various positions in the police force from 1972 to 1988. The former Prime Minister also served five months in prison in 2008, following his 2007 conviction of extortion and larceny. ]

Former Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Patteson Oti had been Prime Minister Danny Philip's endorsed candidate for the election of speaker.

But earlier today Mr. Oti withdrew his nomination.

The meeting marks the end of the formal election period, which went smoothly, despite early concerns that there might be a repeat of the violence that followed the 2006 poll.

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