The Solomon Islands goes to the polls on Wednesday and analysts say Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare faces an uphill battle for re-election, with potential implications for China’s position in the South Pacific.

Voting begins at 7 a.m. local time in the Pacific nation of 992 islands and just over 720,000 people, in a ballot that was delayed by Sogavare’s government. It argued the country couldn’t conduct an election while simultaneously holding the Pacific Games in 2023, and put off the polls until now.

The election will be closely monitored in capitals including Washington, Beijing and Canberra, said Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, a specialist in Solomon Islands politics at the University of Hawaii. While domestic issues will be key to voters’ choices, the result will have repercussions for the islands’ ties with China.