KIRIBATI (Radio Australia, Feb. 25) - Kiribati voters are preparing to choose a new president Tuesday amid controversy over the short-term prospects for office of one of the main candidates.

In a curiosity of Kiribati politics, even if ruling President Teburoro Tito is reinstated, he will not survive more than a couple of days because the opposition party - Boutokaan Te Koaua - controls the 42-member parliament.

A spokesman for the opposition party, Leremia Tabai, says he is optimistic. "Well, you can never pick elections results very well, but our chances have to be very good," he said.

As well as facing the prospect of seeing an elected leader dethroned, Kiribati voters have endured a bitter two-month election campaign in which China and its alleged interference has played a major role.

February 25, 2003

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