Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has refused to resign this morning – sparking a wild debate in Parliament – despite the Opposition Group looking like it has the numbers with 27 of 50 MPs sitting on the Opposition side.
MPs broke for lunch at 1.30pm and are set to reconvene the debate at 3pm after a controversial morning of Parliament where barbs were thrown across the floor – from accusations of corruption, questions over loyalty and concerns about the state of the nation – with one MP saying the representatives were “acting not as leaders, but like children”.
The debate on the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister Sogavare may continue long into the night, with only eight of the 50 MPs so far speaking to it.
Though the Opposition Group is reported to have the numbers, with 27 MPs siding with the no confidence motion, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare refused to resign. He said the people of Solomon Islands deserved to hear the debate about why the no confidence motion was happening.
The motion was moved by the Leader of the Independent Group and the Member of Parliament for Northeast Guadalcanal, Dr Derek Sikua.
Dr Sikua stated the lack of implementing government policies and major national projects, and confidence in the leadership of the Prime Minister as some of the reasons for moving the motion.
While Opposition Group leader Jeremiah Manele said the motion was bought to Parliament on behalf of “our children; the unemployed population living with one meal per day; the public servants without proper housing from the government; and all Solomon Islanders”.
“We must stop stop the bleeding,” he said.
In his debate, Minister for Communication and Aviation Peter Shanel Agovaka said the country was currently facing a cash flow problem resulting in slow of implementation of national projects.
He said switching sides leading up to the motion was unnecessary as leaders should have worked together to fix the current cash flow situation and implement government policies.
What happens from now?
- Parliament is supposed to finish at 4.30pm, however standing orders can be suspended meaning it could, potentially, run well into the night until all MPs, or those that want to talk to the motion, talk to it.
- The Speaker does have the power to end the debate, however because of the seriousness of the motion, this is unlikely.
- If the motion goes to a vote and, as the numbers suggest, the no confidence motion passes, there will be a two week period in caretaker mode. A new Prime Minister will then be determined at the end of the two week period.
- There will be frantic lobbying from today, from both sides.
There has been unprecedented interest in the debate, with record numbers from all over the world logging into SIBC Online to hear the live stream.