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Friday, 03 May 2024 17:09

New Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Elected

Written by  Borgias Jaman
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Solomon Islands’ newly elected Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele speaks during a press conference outside Parliament House in Honiara on Thursday (2/5/2024). China-friendly former foreign minister Manele was elected Solomon Islands' prime minister defeating an opposition leader intent on curbing Beijing's reach in the Pacific nation. (Photo: AFP/Alarics Fugui)

 

Solomon Islands lawmakers elected former Foreign Minister, Jeremiah Manele as the new prime minister on Thursday (2/5/2024). Manele won 31 votes in a closed ballot of the 49 MPs who won the general election on April 17, 2024.

In his first speech, Manele promised to govern the Solomon Islands with integrity and prioritize national interests. As quoted from japantimes.co.jp (02/05), he promised to form a "national unity government" that would focus on improving the economy and "making progress towards economic recovery" from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Manale's promise in his first speech shows that his government is different from Sogavare's considered harsh and divisive government.

 

However, regarding foreign policy, Manele did not explain it clearly. Many people predict that Manele will adopt or continue the previous government's foreign policy. Formerly, during his five-year tenure as prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare embraced a pro-China foreign policy agenda. The Pacific island nation is known to have signed a series of security-related agreements with Beijing.

 

If Jeremiah Manele continues the pro-China policy, many people fear that the Solomon Islands' relations with its traditional partner countries, such as the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, will be strained. This will have consequences for bilateral ties between the Solomon Islands and these countries.

 

Despite continuing his pro-China policy, Manele is believed not to take an aggressive stance in relations with Western countries, including Australia, the United States, and New Zealand. As former Foreign Minister, Manele has more experience with international partners than Manasseh Sogavare. It is believed that Manale will be careful in handling his relations with Western countries.

 

Perhaps realizing this, the leaders of Western countries, one of which is Australia, did not show any concern about Manele's election. Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese stated he was ready to collaborate closely with the Solomon Islands.

 

On social media, the Australian Prime Minister looks forward to working with Manele.

 

It is hoped that Australia's attitude of not having to worry will be followed by other Solomon Islands traditional partner countries, including the United States and New Zealand. So, harmonious and peaceful relations in the Pacific can continue to be maintained.

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