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Close race expected to bring change

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 21, 2011) – Two atolls in Tokelau have this week elected new Faipule and village mayors.

Atafu Atoll held its general elections on Wednesday and Nukunonu held its elections on Thursday.

[PIR editor’s note: Under Tokelau’s system of government, three "faipule" – village leaders - and three mayors share local authority with the nation’s legislature under a system that blends traditional with western governance.]

On Atafu, longstanding Faipule Kuresa Nasau was replaced by Kelisiano Kalolo and Saasetai Taumanu was elected the atoll’s mayor.

In Nukunonu, a previous Faipule, Salesio Lui replaced Pio Tuia, who did not seek a re-election and a former mayor, Panapa Sakaria was elected as Mayor.

A member of the Council of Elders in Atafu, Dr Tekie Iosefa says the appointment of the new Faipule will be a change for the atoll.

"It was a very close election. The difference was minimal, about ten votes."

Dr Tekie Iosefa says there were also new candidates elected for the general Fono.

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