TARAWA, Kiribati (RNZI, Feb. 27) - Kiribati’s President Teburoro Tito has been electeed for a third term.

Tito won 14,445 votes in the poll Wednesday, 850 more than his main challenger, Taberannang Timeon.

A third candidate, who was in the election only to satisfy constitutional requirements and who hardly featured in the campaign, won 348 votes.

Tito’s victory had seemed unlikely after the national elections at the end of November when he lost 14 party members, including seven from his Cabinet. He himself had been forced into a second round of voting for his Assembly seat.

There had been suggestions that Tito might struggle to form a government, but Iaram Tabureka, the editor of local newspaper, Te Uekera, says he thinks MPs will now gravitate towards the President’s party.

"I would say that President Teburoro Tito, now that he is back to his seat, will get more support from the current membership of Parliament. There is a likely tendency for the other members to cross the floor and join his party."

February 27, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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