Solomon Islands PM Sogavare won’t stand for renomination next week

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 4:17 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Solomon Islands incumbent Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said he would not be a candidate when lawmakers vote next week for a new prime minister, and his political party would instead back former Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele.

The two major opposition parties in the Solomon Islands struck a coalition deal on Saturday as they vie with Sogavare’s party to form a government after an election delivered no clear winner.

Last week’s election was the first since Sogavare struck a security pact with China in 2022, inviting Chinese police into the Pacific Islands archipelago and drawing the nation closer to Beijing.

The election is being watched by China, the U.S. and neighbouring Australia because of the potential impact on regional security.

Election results on Wednesday showed Sogavare’s OUR party won 15 of the 50 seats in parliament, while the opposition CARE coalition has 20. Independents and micro parties won 15 seats, and courting the independents will be the key to reaching the 26 seats needed to form a government.

Sogavare announced he would not be a candidate for prime minister. Lawmakers are expected to vote on May 8.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Alex Richardson)