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Solomon Islands Replaces Newly Elected Prime Minister


Lawmakers in the Solomon Islands have chosen opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare as prime minister, replacing Snyder Rini, who was driven out of office last month by riotous protesters, less than a week after his election.

Hundreds of Mr. Sogavare's supporters gathered in Honiara, the capital, to cheer his election by parliament Thursday.

Mr. Sogavare, who was prime minister of the South Pacific island nation once before in 2000-2001, was elected to lead the government in a 28-22 parliament vote. The only other candidate was the Solomons' deputy prime minister, Fred Fono.

Rini's brief accession to power last month sparked rumors that leaders of the capital's Chinatown district had paid bribes to secure his election. A series of violent protests that resulted heavily damaged parts of Honiara. Rini stepped down after the opposition gained the allegiance of more than half of the islands' 50 parliament members.

Mr. Sogavare has said he will consider breaking off the Solomon Islands' diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and establishing relations with Beijing.

Troops and police from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji were sent to the Solomons during last month's disorders. Many are still there on peacekeeping duty.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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