4 Jan 2008

Marshall Islands parliament meets on Monday to choose new President

11:26 am on 4 January 2008

The Marshall Islands parliament meets on Monday for the first time since the November 19th national election to elect a new President.

It is the first time in the 29-years of constitutional government that there is no clear winner from the national election, with both major political parties attempting to put together a coalition government.

The ruling United Democratic Party lost its 20-seat majority in the parliament, but the opposition Aelon Kein Ad (Our Islands) party also failed to win a majority leaving the balance of power in the hands of five independents.

Officials with the UDP say that President Kessai Note will not seek a third term and will be replaced by a UDP-aligned candidate who will draw the support of the independents to get the 17-vote majority needed for Monday¹s election.

But AKA officials say they will elect Speaker Litokwa Tomeing, who defected from the UDP before the election.