16 Nov 2011

Political reform tops the agenda for new Nauru leader

4:46 pm on 16 November 2011

Nauru's new leader is promising a continuing focus on constitutional reform.

Sprent Dabwido was elected on Tuesday after a vote of no confidence in the government of Freddie Pitcher, who himself only assumed power on Thursday last week after the resignation of Marcus Stephen.

Mr Dabwido, the minister of telecommunications in the previous government, defeated Mr Pitcher nine votes to eight.

He has called on Nauruans to be patient and understanding and the country puts its priorities in order.

He has indicated his government will push for constitutional reform, adding an extra MP, so there are 19, as one device to try and reduce the political stalemates that often plague the island's governments.

His government also wants the Speaker to be appointed from outside Parliament.

Mr Pitcher made similar comments last week after he was elected president.

But previous efforts to push through reforms have foundered because of a lack of opposition support - many of those MPs are now in government.