28 Nov 2003

Domestic election count shows voters like governing UDP in Marshall Islands

5:27 am on 28 November 2003

The Marshall Islands national election is now likely to be decided by those voters casting their ballots in the United States.

With many seats being decided by fewer than 100 votes, the more than 2 thousand-300 off-shore postal ballots could change the result in at least 20 percent of the races.

But while the country waits for the deadline for off-shore ballots to expire on Monday so they can be counted, the tally of domestic votes show voters have given a vote of confidence to the ruling United Democratic Party, led by President Kessai Note.

UDP candidates are currently headed for major upsets in three islands - Likiep, Ailinglaplap and Namdrik.

Upset victories in these seats could increase the UDP's control in parliament from 19 seats to 22 in the 33-member chamber.