Solomon Islands election: Opposition parties strike coalition in race to form government

There was no clear winner in Solomon Islands' election this week - now the two major opposition parties have struck a coalition deal with the aim of taking power. 

The two parties are vying with former prime minister Manasseh Sogavare's party to form a government.

The election is being watched by China, the US and neighbouring Australia because of the potential impact on regional security.

It was the first election since Mr Sogavare struck a security pact with China in 2022, inviting Chinese police into the Pacific Islands archipelago and drawing the nation closer to Beijing.

The incumbent OUR party won 15 of the 50 seats in parliament, two more than the opposition CARE coalition, which is made up of the Solomon Islands Democratic Party, U4C and the Democratic Alliance Party.

On Saturday, CARE struck an agreement with the second-largest opposition party, United, to form a coalition with 20 seats.

United has previously said it would scrap the China security pact.

Rick Houenipwela of the Democratic Alliance Party said the newly formed coalition had not decided which party leader to nominate as the bloc's candidate for prime minister.

"Our group is responding to the cries and wishes of our people to take back Solomon Islands and to bring back confidence in the leadership and the governing of our country," the coalition said in a statement.

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Independents and micro parties won 15 seats. They will be heavily lobbied in the race to find the 26 seats needed to form a government.

Mr Sogavare said last week his party had the support of two micro parties and would woo independents.

The Solomon Islands are made up of six major islands and more than 900 smaller ones.

Negotiations are taking place in the capital Honiara, where newly elected lawmakers have flown from other islands.