Palau President Declares Candidacy For November Election

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Remengesau to run for fourth, non-consecutive, term

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, March 2, 2016) – President Tommy Remengesau Jr., declared his intention to run again for the Office of the President this coming general election in November to a big crowd at Ngarachamayong Cultural Center, last night, during his birthday celebration.

Running for his fourth term in office, Remengesau Jr., will be running against formidable opponents, his former Vice President, sitting Senator and successful businesswoman Sandra Pierantozzi and Senator Surangel Whipps Jr., a businessman, former supporter and brother-in-law.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. has a unique history in Palau’s government, becoming the first President to have served three terms as President. He had served as a Senator, Vice President and was the youngest person to become President in Palau’s history.

Known and recognized locally and internationally as a champion for the environment, he led the country and Micronesia region to establish the Micronesia Challenge, a model of conservation effort that has spurred similar organizations around the world. His latest accomplishment has been to establish the first no-take zone, setting aside 80% of Palau’s EEZ as National Marine Sanctuary. The effort led to the mobilization of Micronesia region, Pacific region and Small Island States to bring protection and conservation of oceans to global attention and incorporating it into the United Nations development goals.

Locally, he is known more as a grassroots representative, informal and approachable. During this term, he had pushed through two key policies, the Marine Sanctuary Act and Fiber Optic Cable Corporation Act. During this term, his administration has brought to current Palau’s government debts.

He is not without his challenges. During this current term, he had to address the aftermath of two supertyphoons, Bopha and Haiyan. His ministries and Boards have been called to oversight by the OEK frequently, especially the Ministry of Justice and its affiliate offices, PPUC and Social Security Administration.

A looming challenge is the growing displacement of Palauans affected by both land cases adjudicated in favor private claimants and sudden influx of People’s Republic of China’s investment in Palau.

The two other candidates, Senator Sandra Pierantozzi and Senator Surangel Whipps Jr. have both made bids for Presidency early on this year. Both come to the race with business as well as political experiences.

Senator Whipps Jr. is currently off-island on highly publicized campaign trail while Senator Pierantozzi is conducting low-key campaign strategy with her supporters.

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