24 Oct 2011

Kiribati's caretaker leader raises concerns at foreign influence on election

4:30 pm on 24 October 2011

The Kiribati caretaker president says foreign governments are influencing the elections in his country.

Kiribati has held the first of two rounds of voting in its parliamentary elections, with the second round to be held on Friday.

Kiribati is one of 6 Pacific countries that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan rather than China.

President Anote Tong says some opposition members have come up strongly, and he believes that is the result of activity of foreign governments.

"I know that PRC [China] continues to be disappointed over the suspension of relations. So it's quite possible, and I think it is more than possible, that they have continued to be active here. There is very little we can do, I think what is important is to ensure that the outcome is in the best interests of the people. That is first and foremost."

Anote Tong says it is good to see a resurgence of interest in the election demonstrated by the more than 130 candidates.