The premier of one of Solomon Islands’ most populous provinces and one of the most vocal critics of the country’s relationship with China was yesterday ousted in a vote of no confidence.
The ouster of Daniel Suidani as premier of Malaita Province led to protests in the provincial capital, Auki.
Police confirmed to the Guardian that they had used tear gas to disperse protesters and said one police officer had been injured, but that the situation was under control.
Photo: grab from Facebook
Suidani has been one of the most outspoken critics of the country’s relationship with China. He objected to the national government signing a controversial security pact with China last year, as well as the decision to break ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 2019.
A motion filed in the provincial assembly early yesterday accused him of illegally soliciting money from a Chinese-owned mining company, inappropriately using government finances to pay the wages of his personal security guards and financial mismanagement.
The vote passed unanimously after the premier and his executive walked off the floor of the provincial assembly meeting, boycotting the motion.
Solomon Islands Minister for Provincial Government Rollen Seleso said that Suidani’s government had tried unsuccessfully to object to the legality of the motion of no confidence, but that the high court had ruled in favor of the provincial speaker and declared the vote could go ahead.
“They proceeded with the motion, which now led to the defeat of the incumbent Suidani,” Seleso said. “Following the defeat, nominations of the candidates should go on for 48 hours, and the provincial assembly speaker should convene a full assembly meeting to elect the new premier on Friday this week.”
Suidani has not spoken to the press following the vote and could not immediately be reached for comment.
However, earlier this week he issued a statement calling the vote of no confidence a “blatant disregard of the law” and “attacks against the people of Malaita are in clear daylight.”
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