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By Oyaol Ngirairikl

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 21) - On Nov. 2, the same day that Americans cast their ballots for their president of the United States, thousands of Palauans will cast their votes for the president of the Emerald Isles.

Presidential elections are held every four years in the Republic of Palau, and on Saturday night, more than 100 Palauans living on Guam gathered for the first of an expected series of campaign meetings.

At the Barrigada Community Center, President Tommy Remengesau formally announced to Guam's Palauan community his candidacy for a second term as president of Palau. Thus far, he is the only presidential candidate to meet with Palauans who have made Guam their home.

On Guam, there are about 1,200 Palauan voters, said Vic April, Palau consul general on Guam.

"We had about 900 people vote during the last presidential election," April said of Palau's 2000 presidential election. "We've had a lot more people register to vote this year so we're expecting a bigger turnout."

Guam's Palau Community Association hosted the campaign meeting where Remengesau explained his campaign slogan: "Sustain the best and improve the rest."

Remengesau talked about his intent to continue his attempts to balance the preservation of the environment while fostering the island's economic development.

"We Palauans have been blessed by God with an island that boasts a beautiful environment that we can call home. That same environment attracts thousands of tourists each year, allowing us the opportunity to make money," he said.

"But we have to remember, the same environment we've been blessed with is also very fragile. And once it's been damaged, no amount of money can restore it," Remengesau said.

June 21, 2004

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