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PM Resigns Ahead Of Vote

By Alison Ofotalau © USP Journalism Programme

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu has resigned ahead of a no-confidence motion to be tabled in Parliament next week.

According to the Solomon Islands Broadcating Corporation, Ulufa'alu handed in his resignation to the Governor-General, Sir John Ini Lapli, last night.

Sir John is expected to appoint an interim government as the security situation is sorted out.

SIBC reported that Ulufa'alu was expected to call a press conference this afternoon to announce his resignation.

Ulufa'alu was last week told by the rebel Malaita Eagle Force to resign as Prime Minister as it claimed he was not capable of solving the Guadalcanal crisis.

In a joint operation on June 5 the MEF and the country's para-military - which consists mainly of Malaitans - raided both the country's armoury and a heavily armed patrol boat, placing Ulufa'alu under house arrest and took control of the streets of the capital Honiara.

Since then many government vehicles have been over taken by the MEF, including two official vehicles of the Chief Justice and Deputy Prime Minister, both of them from Guadalcanal, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, a Malaitan.

SIBC reported that Ulufa'alu was also without any official vehicle and members of the VIP Close Protection Unit were disarmed and taken from him.

The Office of the Prime Minister said these actions continued despite assurances by MEF rebel leader Andrew Nori that the vehicles and arms would be returned.

SIBC said Ulufa'alu and his family were virtually forced from the official Prime Minister's residence during the weekend and the family had since left for his home village on Malaita.

Ulufa'alu is reported to only make appearances for caucus and cabinet meetings.

SIBC also reported that five members of the Ulufa'alu government had already resigned and were now in the opposition camp as political lobbying intensified.

+++niuswire

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