Despite Waning Support, Solomons PM Determined To Keep Job

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In response to no-confidence motion, Sogavare says "Bring it on"

By Charles Kadamana

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 23, 2015) – He may have lost the support of his ministers and backbenchers, but Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is determined to defend his job and leadership.

"Bring it on," Mr Sogavare declared in parliament yesterday, referring to a motion of no-confidence Opposition leader Jeremiah Manele lodged on Wednesday.

This was after his move to adjourn parliament to December 3 was blocked by his political opponents.

In the end and due to lack of support, Mr Sogavare had to withdraw his special motion to adjourn parliament.

He now faces the prospect of losing the top job when parliament resumes next Friday, to debate the no-confidence motion.

Mr Sogavare said motions of no-confidence in the national parliament are interesting because they are often based on the agenda of a few people.

The current upheaval stemmed from the recent reshuffling of Northwest Guadalcanal MP Bodo Dettke from the Ministry of Forestry and Research to Tourism and Culture.

Mr Dettke, a powerful businessman who also has logging interests, was unhappy with his removal.

Observers believed he was behind the current political situation.

Mr Sogavare said in parliament he will explain the reasons behind the reshuffling exercise during the debate of the upcoming motion.

[PIR editor’s note: Solomon Star reported that ‘A government Minister who intends to resign from the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) government blames the leadership style of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare as the main cause of disagreement forcing defects by his Ministers and backbenchers. ... The Minister who wants to remain anonymous claimed, many members of the current Government do not support Prime Minister Sogavare’s leadership style of directing his Ministers on orders made through text messages. ... He said, under normal protocols, the Prime Minister should summon his Ministers and meet them face to face when giving those orders under reshuffling of portfolios arrangements. ... He said, in the absence of such leadership approach, Ministers who have been reshuffled portfolios in the past have felt embarrassed and annoyed over the way the Prime Minister treated them.’]

Before withdrawing his special motion of adjournment, the prime minister told parliament:

"I want to face that motion of no confidence. Bring it on, and please be direct with me."

In parliament yesterday, all seven government ministers and six backbenchers who’ve withdrawn their support for Mr Sogavare crossed the floor and filled up seats on the other side of the house.

With the defection, the Opposition has claimed the support of 27 MPs.

Opposition leader Mr Manele said at this stage they are consolidating their numbers with members of the Independent Group and those that have defected.

"At this stage there is no discussion among the groups about possible candidates but we are grouping as one and have consolidated to maintain our numbers, "he said.

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