17 Dec 2007

Two candidates said to be running for Prime Minister of Solomon Islands

6:02 am on 17 December 2007

Solomon Islands MPs will choose a new prime minister on Thursday, with two candidates in the race.

The vote comes after last week's toppling of Manasseh Sogavare's government in a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

After a weekend of talks among opposition groups, the former Education Minister, Derek Sikua, will stand along with Mr Sogavare's Foreign Minister, Patteson Oti.

The capital, Honiara, is quiet but police and regional security forces are on alert.

Mr Sogavare is in place as a caretaker prime minister and has urged Solomon Islanders to remain calm.

Mr Sikua was among nine ministers and three backbenchers who defected from the government last month.