25 Oct 2004

Nauru President Ludwig Scotty wins election

8:15 am on 25 October 2004

Voters in Nauru have re-elected the reformist government of President Ludwig Scotty, paving the way for a tough budget aimed at reversing the fortunes of the financially stricken country.

All nine members of Mr Scotty's administration retained their seats in the election while seven of the nine opposition MPs in the 18-seat parliament were voted out.

Among the new members are several who campaigned in support of the Scotty government's reform agenda.

The win will allow the government to pass its reformist budget, drawn up with the help of Australian officials who have been advising the government on economic reforms as it seeks to avoid bankruptcy.

Ludwig Scotty called the snap election after parliament became deadlocked for the third time since the last election just 18 months ago.

The deadlock was the second political crisis this year after then-president Rene Harris was toppled by a parliamentary no-confidence motion in June.

Although parliament has only 18 seats and 4,600 voters, it took 24 hours after yesterday's polls closed before the outcome was known because of the island's complex voting system.

Foreign observers from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth, who oversaw the voting, have declared themselves satisfied with the way the poll was conducted.