7 Nov 2005

CNMI election outcome hinges on absentee ballots yet to be counted

2:35 pm on 7 November 2005

None of the four candidates vying for the gubernatorial seat has claimed victory in the Northern Marianas Islands, with partial results of the weekend's election showing no comfortable lead among the four.

The Saipan Tribune reports that there are more than 1,500 absentee ballots still to be counted.

The House Speaker, Benigno Fitial, and the vice-speaker, Timothy Villagomez, are taking a modest position despite their lead in the polls.

The three other camps issued variations on the statement that the election is not over until the last ballot is counted.

Mr Fitial says his camp will wait for November the 19th, when the absentee ballots are counted by the Commonwealth Elections Commission.

He has a slight margin over the tandems of Heinz Hofschneider and David Apatang, and incumbent Governor Juan N. Babauta and his Lieutenant Diego Benavente.