7 Dec 2011

Marshall Islands national election enters final phase

11:34 am on 7 December 2011

The Marshall Islands national election entered its final phase yesterday as Electoral Administrator officials opened more than 2,500 postal absentee ballots to count.

These are the final votes to be counted in the nations election that was held on November 21.

An archaic law requires a two-week wait post-election before the postal ballots can be counted.

More than 350 of the postal ballots were rejected for missing or improperly filled out paperwork and being postmarked after the date of the election.

Domestic votes show seven of the 33 seats changing hands, but in several of these races candidates were separated by fewer than 15 votes before the count of the postal votes.

The domestic vote shows that for the first time in the history of the Marshall Islands parliament, two women will be among the 33 members.

Hilda Heine will join incumbent Amenta Matthew of Utrik as the second women in the parliament.

Final unofficial results are expected to be announced by tomorrow.