Solomon Islands throw out the bums

Solomon Islands: from Reuters [world page doesn't have proper permalinks]
HONIARA (Reuters) - Solomon Islands voters ousted half their parliament in the first election since peacekeepers restored law and order in the South Pacific nation three years ago, officials said on Monday, announcing final poll results.

Prime Minister Sir Alan Kemakeza won his seat in last Wednesday's national election but will now have to lobby with winning candidates to form a coalition government ahead of a secret parliamentary ballot for prime minister on April 18.

A government spokesman said many of Kemakeza's elected People's Alliance Party (PAP) candidates have since deserted his party.

"Its difficult to tell how many PAP candidates have been elected as many stood as PAP and have now joined other parties," spokesman Alfred Maesulia told Reuters.

A total of 453 candidates from 13 parties contested 50 seats in an election dominated by government corruption, after several ministers were arrested on corruption charges in the past year.

The Solomon Star newspaper said that, based on the candidates' listings, 18 members of the new parliament are independents.

New parliamentarians will travel to the capital, Honiara, this week, many by boat from far-flung islands, to begin horse-trading to form a new coalition government.

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