26 Oct 2009

Marshall Island parliament elects new President

4:11 pm on 26 October 2009

The Marshall Islands parliament has elected the Speaker, Jurelang Zedkaia, as its fifth President.

The vote for Mr Zedkaia was 17-15, the same as during last Wednesday's vote of no confidence, giving him the bare one-vote minimum needed to win the presidency in the 33-seat parliament.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson says the vote was over in 15 minutes..

"There were only two nominations, the speaker of the Nitijela, Jurelang Zedkaia, was nominated, and also former president Kessai Note. Its not clear if there is a floor, who is on which side. Everything is now very blurred in terms of any party affiliation, and safe to say that it's just, everyone is voting for whoever they want."

Giff Johnson says the Nitijela now has to elect a new speaker, and then President Zedkaia will form a cabinet.