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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 05:42 GMT
Solomon Islands elects new leader
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Lawmakers in the Solomon Islands have elected Derek Sikua to the post of prime minister, following last week's ousting of leader Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Sikua, an opposition-backed former education minister, defeated Foreign Minister Patteson Oti by 32 to 15 in the parliamentary vote.

Security was tight in the capital, Honiara, as proceedings took place, but there were no reports of trouble.

Mr Sogavare was toppled on 13 December in a no-confidence vote.

In recent months, he had faced criticised for his abrasive style and had been accused of damaging the nation's international image.

'Democratic outcome'

Mr Sikua was one of several lawmakers who defected from Mr Sogavare's government in November as opposition to his leadership mounted.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare speaks in the capital Honiara, Solomon Island (11/11/2007)
Mr Sogavare was ousted in a no-confidence vote last week

The new prime minister told parliament that his election was a victory for democracy in the Pacific nation.

"The resolution of the political crisis has demonstrated the strength of Solomon Islands democratic institutions,"" he said.

Analysts say that his win points to better ties with key aid providers Australia and New Zealand.

Relations had deteriorated under Mr Sogavare, who had criticised an Australian-led peacekeeping force, accusing foreign advisors of meddling in government affairs.

He had also caused consternation with his appointment of Julian Moti as attorney-general. Mr Moti is wanted in Australia on child sex charges.

The new leader has indicated he may hand Mr Moti over to Australia.

SEE ALSO
Solomon Islands PM ousted in vote
13 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Solomons vote over PM withdrawn
10 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Tensions ahead of Solomons vote
09 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Solomons legal chief is sworn in
10 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Solomons ban police chief return
27 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
New PM elected in Solomon Islands
04 May 06 |  Asia-Pacific



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