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SOLOMONS’ SIKUA OUT OF RACE FOR PRIME MINISTER Party chooses Abana as candidate to lead country

By Eddie Osifelo HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 20, 2010) - Caretaker Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua is out of the race for the top job.

Instead, the Heritage Park Hotel camp, which he is part of, is likely to field in leader of the Solomon Islands Democratic Party (SIDP) Steve Abana, as their candidate.

Names of those contesting the top political job will be disclosed today when nominations close 4 p.m.

Sources close to the Heritage Park Hotel camp told the Solomon Star last night the group has reached a consensus to have leader of the biggest party as their candidate.

That falls squarely on Mr. Abana, whose party won 14 seats in the last election.

The Honiara Hotel camp, which comprised of different political parties, will also field in only one candidate.

But this candidate is NOT the leader of the Direct Development Party (DPP) Dick Ha΄amori.

Mr. Ha΄amori, a first-time parliamentarian and former director of Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, said he is not contesting.

He said this is because their camp has a number of good candidates who can contest the PM’s position.

"I have no fear contesting for the position, but I think it is not necessary because we already have enough people to stand for the post," he said.

Ha΄amori said their camp had agreed to put up only one candidate for the job.

With Sikua out of the race, the country is certain to have a new face on the job come Wednesday next week.

Sikua, leader of the Liberal Party, was spotted leaving the Heritage Park Hotel last night after meeting camp members.

Meanwhile, it’s still unclear yesterday which group has the number to form the government, with MPs still move between the two camps.

This weekend will prove crucial as lobbying and behind-the-scene talks continue.

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