11 Dec 2007

No clear winner in Marshall Islands national parliamentary election

7:15 am on 11 December 2007

Neither of the two main political parties in the Marshall Islands has emerged with a clear majority following the release yesterday of the final, unofficial results for the national Parliament election.

But a week ago, both the government United Democratic Party, or UDP, and the opposition United People's Party or UPP declared they had the 17 MPs needed to form a government when Parliament meets next month.

The UPP restated yesterday that it plans to elect Speaker Litokwa Tomeing as President.

Negotiations are in progress with leaders from both parties trying to lure MPs to put together the 17 needed for a majority.

The final but still unofficial results were released yesterday, three weeks after the Marshall Islands election that is being called the worst managed in the 28 years of constitutional government.

Candidates now have two weeks to file complaints or petitions for recounts.

With two parliament races decided by a single vote, and two more by just five-vote margins, many recount petitions are expected.