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29 of 44 kept positions, race for presidency at hand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 31, 2011) – Four government ministers have lost their seats after the second round of voting in the Kiribati election.

Twenty nine out of forty four members of Kiribati’s parliament retained their seats, and a final place in the legislature will be decided on Thursday after a tie for Christmas Island’s third seat.

A development worker in Kiribati, John Anderson, says lobbying now begins among MPs for the presidency, held by Anote Tong since 2003.

He says the party system in Kiribati is under developed and the opposition is not well organized.

"It’s in two or three small groupings. I wouldn’t call them parties because at least two of them don’t have policies they just want to beat the president but they’re going to have to bury their small differences to make sure they get one candidate they all stand behind and they get the numbers."

John Anderson says candidates for the presidency will face a popular vote in December.

[PIR editor’s note: Christmas Islanders have been asked to return to polls for a tie-breaker vote between two representatives. Meanwhile, the only female parliamentarian of the second electoral round passed, bringing the total of women candidates for Kiribati’s parliament to three. An in-depth listing of names and affiliations for the current electoral candidates and impressions of the establishment of opposition and independent parties is available through the Kiribati Independent..]

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