Formation of the new government begins in earnest

By Alfred Sasako

PREPARATORY work for the election of the nation’s next Prime Minister has begun in earnest, but the Opposition which ousted the government on Monday is keeping a lid on its candidate for the top job.

Acting Governor General and Speaker of Parliament, Ajalon Nasiu, is expected to sign a letter advising Members of Parliament of a schedule of activities for next week, Government House told Island Sun yesterday.

That schedule includes the date of when nomination for the post of Prime Minister opens and closes and when Parliament would meet to elect the new one, Government House said.

“All these should [be] early next week,” Government House said.

The Governor General’s letter would be hand delivered to MPs in the two opposing camps after it is signed today.

Government House also said Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s group which was ousted in a no-confidence motion on Monday is eligible to nominate its own candidate.

Observers said such a scenario is keeping the fluidity of the situation alive, putting the new grouping on their toes.

“The fact that the margin separating the two sides is very thin is something the new group would have to watch carefully when they are deciding who their candidate for the top job would be,” one observer said.

“The selection of and support for their candidate is crucial otherwise Sogavare’s group known for making hard-to-refuse offers would capitalise on the situation. On Mr Sogavare’s camp, the difficulty lies with the North East Choiseul MP himself. He is not going to part with the job too easily,” the observers said.

Meanwhile former secretary to Caucus, Maratahana Sarah Susuta-Yee said Mr Sogavare had misled Parliament about the appointment of his nephew, Robson Djokovic, as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Caucus never approved the appointment because the position COS was abolished from the structure,” Ms Susuta-Yee said.

“I have records of the Caucus Minutes to prove it,” she said.

Sogavare told Parliament during the debate of the no confidence motion on Monday that Caucus approved the engagement of his nephew as Chief of Staff.

“Big bulls…” Susuta-Yee said.

“I vowed I would bring him down when they fired me and I did it from Australia too,” she said in a Messenger exchange from Brisbane yesterday.

“I have Caucus Minutes (which will) make Soga look like a weak person who agrees with the rest of the pack for the PM’s chair. The position COS was abolished from the structure.

“I have Minutes to confirm that.”

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