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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
New Prime Minister in Solomons

Parliament in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific has elected a new prime minister in the latest attempt to end the biggest political upheaval since independence from Britain over twenty years ago.

Voting under tight security, MPs chose the former opposition leader, Mannasseh Sogovare, by a narrow majority 23 to 21.

He replaces Bartholomew Ulufa'alu, who resigned under duress two weeks ago when armed rebels calling themselves the Malaita Eagles took control of the capital, Honiara. The Eagles come from the neighbouring island of Malaita.

They're accused by the local people of Guadacanal, the main island, of stealing jobs and land. Mr Sogovare said he would commit his new government to national reconciliation.

It's the second attempt in a week to end the ethnic violence, which has caused thousands of expatriate workers to flee the Solomons. A former government minister, Alfred Sosako, told the BBC that Mr Sogovare's election was undemocratic as about half the members of the ousted government stayed away after being intimidated.

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