PRESIDENT OF NAURU DOWIYOGO OVERTHROWN IN PARLIAMENTARY VOTE, HARRIS NEW

PRESIDENT

YAREN, Nauru (March 30, 2001 – Radio Australia/Pina Nius Online)---The President of Nauru, Bernard Dowiyogo, has been overthrown in a parliamentary vote of no confidence, carried out in his absence.

It's the third change of government in just two years.

Back as President is Rene Harris, who surrendered the presidency last April when Mr. Dowiyogo defeated him in a vote of no confidence.

Mr. Harris toppled Mr. Dowiyogo by two votes in Nauru's 18-member Parliament

Mr. Dowiyogo is hospitalized in Australia and could not get back to Nauru for the vote.

The Finance Minister, Kinza Clodumar, was also absent.

Mr. Dowiyogo has been president six times amidst Nauru's regular changes of president.

This will be the second term as president for Mr. Harris.

Mr. Harris has been a Member of Parliament since 1977.

He has been chairman of the Nauru Phosphate Corporation and manager of the former Nauru Pacific Line. His knowledge of the phosphate industry, which has been the backbone of the economy, is extensive, a media release from Nauru public affairs consultant Helen Bogdan in Melbourne said.

The media release said Mr. Harris was educated in Australia at Geelong College, Victoria, and is a great supporter of the Geelong Football Club. He is married, with five children and four grandchildren.

It is expected that President Harris will issue a statement announcing his Cabinet in the next two or three days, the media release said.

Earlier, Mr. Dowiyogo rejected claims of corruption made by former Health Minister Anthony Audoa.

Mr. Dowiyogo challenged Mr. Audoa to present any evidence he has to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr. Dowiyogo said in a statement issued from Melbourne: "Mr. Audoa knows as well as anyone the acute financial problems Nauru has been facing for the last eight or nine years.

"His irresponsible remarks do not assist the country either at home or abroad and are made for no other reason than an attempt to seize power."

The statement said Mr. Audoa made "extraordinary allegations . . . without any semblance of detail."

* Nauru is due to host this year's Pacific Islands Forum meeting of regional leaders.

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