Solomon Islands Parliament grows more vocal despite prime minister’s refusal to resign

Members of the Solomon Islands Parliament continued on Friday to call for a government shakeup despite the prime minister’s refusal to announce a resignation.

Four days of violent protests against government corruption and alleged mismanagement left at least five people dead in the capital, Honiara, local media reported.

Police investigating the violence were unable to obtain proof of a report that a man had been burned alive in Honiara’s tea house Wednesday, police chief David Nimmo said Friday.

Another man died in Honiara on Thursday, police said, but the man’s identity and cause of death were unknown.

Protesters have been demanding that the prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, step down, but Lilo has said he will not resign.

The government-owned Pacific Daily News reported on Friday that Lilo said in a televised address to parliament that he will continue to fight corruption and bolster the country’s image, just as the country suffered while under the former prime minister of the time, Sir Allen Kemakeza.

“Those who have tried to subvert the republic’s progress have nothing to be proud of,” Lilo said, according to the Pacific Daily News. “They will never get the support of the people of the Solomons.”

The central bank was forced to raise interest rates to 15 percent to control the currency, the Solomon Star newspaper reported Friday. About 40 government employees remain on strike, halting vital government services and public schools.

The government has been trying to recruit international experts to investigate corruption and alleged mismanagement, but the experts did not arrive in the country until Thursday, after several attempts failed.

The Solomon Star reported that the country’s constitution does not allow “a prime minister to stay in office in a weakened state, because that is against the rule of law.”

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