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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
New PM chosen by Solomon Islands
A new prime minister has been chosen in the Solomon Islands after a secret ballot by 50 newly-elected MPs.

Snyder Rini, the former deputy prime minister, pledged to work towards peace and reconciliation as well as economic recovery in the South Pacific nation.

His appointment sparked protests from backers of a rival candidate, who said he would not provide a fresh start.

Former leader Allan Kemakeza decided to step down after only narrowly retaining his seat in a 5 April general election.

Mr Kemakeza's People's Alliance Party suffered losses in the polls following allegations of corruption among several ministers.

The elections were the first since an Australian-led force arrived to restore peace in the country in 2003, after violence stirred up by local warlords left hundreds dead and 20,000 displaced.

Retaining security

Speaking after his election, the 56-year-old Mr Rini said he would continue to work closely with the peacekeepers, adding that they would leave "only when security is in place".

Mr Rini beat off two main rivals, the former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Job Dudley Tausinga, the leader of the new Rural Advancement Party.

Some 500 supporters of Mr Tausinga - who had led in the first round of voting - gathered around the parliament building in the capital Honiara following the announcement.

The MPs were kept inside as police in riot gear moved in to disperse the crowd amid reports of stone-throwing and looting.

Q&A: Solomon Islands vote
04 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Solomons warlord surrenders
13 Aug 03 |  Asia-Pacific
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18 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Solomons enjoy new-found stability
15 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Solomon Islands
03 Dec 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Solomon Islands
24 Mar 06 |  Country profiles

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