By Jaime Espina

KOLONIA, Pohnpei (Marianas Variety, Nov. 13) — Just as many predicted, veterans Gov. Johnny P. David, the incumbent, and his predecessor, Del Pangelinan, will face each other in a run-off election early next month for the governorship of Pohnpei.

Lt. Gov. Jack Yakana will also face challenger Churchill B. Edward in a run-off.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the incomplete, unofficial tally from Tuesday’s elections made available by Pohnpei Election Commissioner Heinrick Stevenson, showed David with 7,150 or 38.99 percent of the votes cast for governor to Pangelinan’s 5,710 votes or 31.14 percent.

Stevenson said he was only waiting for the votes from Honolulu for lieutenant governor to complete his official count.

William Iriarte trailed Pangelinan by just a few hundred votes, getting 5,474 or 29.85 percent.

A run-off becomes automatic if none of the candidates secured a simple majority.

A total of 18,336 votes were cast for governor, the most for any position. The number represented about 71 percent of the 25,716 registered voters of Pohnpei, both here and overseas.

Yakana received only 4,325 or 24.75 percent of the 17,474 votes cast for lieutenant governor, to Edward’s 5,399 or 30.9 percent.

In the race for seats in the State Legislature, six incumbents — Nancy G. Salomon of Madolenihmw, Norbert Rodriguez of Nett, Dahker D. Daniel of Kitti, Victor Edwin of Kolonia, Sylvester Wolphagen of Sapwuahfik and Gerson Lekka of Nukuoro — lost their reelection bids.

This means there will be seven new members when the new Legislature convenes in January.

These include Magdalena A. Walter, who will be filling in the vacancy left by Sokehs Sen. Tesiwo Liwy, who chose not to run.

The other successful challengers are Nixon B. Soram of Madolenihmw, Epert Mikel of Kitti, Robert P. Nakasone of Nett, Marvin Yamaguchi of Kolonia, Benjamin H. Ludwig of Nukuoro and Stevick Edwin of Sapwuahfik.

The incumbent senators who were reelected were Bellarmine Helgenberger, Naiten O. Philip, Nelson N. Pelep of Madolenihmw; Berney Martin, Francisco L. Ioanis, Thomas Pablo of Kitti; Ausen T. Lambert, Speaker Feliciano M. Perman, Peter M. Lohn of Sokehs; Vice Speaker Quirino Mendiola of Nett; Ambros Senda and Fedrico Primo of U; Fernando Scaliem of Kolonia; Sailas J. Henry of Mwoakilloa; Nihlis Ernest of Pingelap; and Edgar W. Lickaneth of Kapingamarangi.

Stevenson described the elections as smooth with "no major problems except time."

Earlier, the commissioner had promised to complete the counting of votes by 11 p.m. of election day.

However, the initial phase of the counting, which began shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m., ended only at 4 a.m. yesterday. But by that time, the trend was unmistakable.

Stevenson said the relatively slow pace of the count was because "the process was so detailed and scrutinized to avoid doubts."

Nevertheless, he said this was the fastest count in the history of state elections. Results of all past elections, he said, took an average of five days to be officially known, with the best performance being four days.

A total of 61 candidates, including three for governor and six for lieutenant governor, vied for the different state elective positions.

Thus far, said Stevenson, he had yet to receive any electoral protest or petition for recount.

November 13, 2003

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com


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