16 Nov 2011

Douglas Ete withdraws from Solomon Islands prime ministerial race

10:40 am on 16 November 2011

Solomon Islands opposition MP Douglas Ete has withdrawn his candidacy for the prime minister of Solomon Islands who is due to be elected today.

Voting gets underway this morning in Honiara with five candidates now in the running.

Our correspondent in Honiara, Koroi Hawkins, says the secret ballots are set to be a battle between Gordon Darcy Lilo and one of the remaining opposition candidates including a public favourite, a former prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

"The winner has to have an absolute majority which is half of parliament plus one. if any of the five can't achieve that then this could drag on all day but if this group of the current caretaker government is as solid as they claim to be then it'll be over within the morning."

Koroi Hawkins says it's calm in the capital as the vote gets underway.