Top Asian News 3:24 a.m. GMT

Solomon Islands lawmakers elect former Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele as new prime minister

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Solomon Islands lawmakers elected former Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele as prime minister Thursday in a development that suggests the South Pacific island nation will maintain close ties with China. Manele used his first speech as leader to promise to govern with integrity and to put his nation’s interests first. “I will discharge my duties diligently and with integrity. I will at all times put the interests of our people and country above all other interests,” Manele said in a speech outside the National Parliament of Solomon Islands. Manele won 31 votes in a secret ballot of 49 lawmakers who won general elections on April 17, Governor General David Vunagi said, while Matthew Wale, who led the opposition in the previous parliament, received the remaining 18.