28 Sep 2020

Race for Palau presidency down to a two man race

1:58 pm on 28 September 2020

Raynold Oilouch and Surangel Whipps Junior will advance to the November race for the Palau presidency, according to unofficial results from the Election Commission.

Presidential candidate, Surangel Whipps Jnr

Presidential candidate, Surangel Whipps Jnr Photo: Facebook

The Island Times reported slightly less than 8,000 votes were cast in last week's primary election, with Whipps topping the count so far with 3,546 votes and Oilouch second with 1,984 votes.

Along with Oilouch and Whipps, two other candidates Alan Seid and Johnson Toribiong squared off in the primary.

Toribiong was third with 1,145 votes and Seid the fourth with 983 votes, according to the unofficial results from the Commission.

Although the absentee votes are still scheduled to be counted tomorrow, the lead of the top two candidates was enough for Seid and Toribiong to concede.

Whipps, the brother-in-law of outgoing President Tommy Remengesau, led in all hamlets in Koror and Airai and in all states.

The voter turnout for the primary was only at 31 percent of the total registered voters of 25,281.

The official result is expected to be certified at the end of next week.

Oilouch, who is the most recent Vice-President, thanked voters in a Facebook post.

He said the election went well and thanked the Lord.

Presidential candidate, Raynold Oilouch

Presidential candidate, Raynold Oilouch Photo: Wendy Capili-Wilkie

Whipps, in an interview, thanked the people for participating in the democratic process.

He also thanked the three other candidates for the fair and good election and for informing the public of the various issues.

Seid for his part, thanked the people who supported him in the race to the presidency.

"The results are clear so I want to concede and congratulate Surangel Whipps Jr and VP Arnold Oilouch who are the clear winners of the primary. Good luck to both of them," Seid said.

Toribiong also offered his congratulations to Whipps and Oilouch for making it to the general election.

"I extend to all the people of Palau, at home and abroad, my appreciation to you for freely exercising your right to vote to choose our next President to lead our nation in the next four years. I offer my congratulations."

With the country in the midst of a Covid-related economic crisis, some voters said the economy would be important to them in their decision on who to vote for.

Whipps campaigned for tax reform, improving the educational system and a government that invested in its people.

Oilouch meanwhile campaigned for better housing for Palauans and continuity of a stable government.

Outgoing President, Tommy Remenegsau, had reached his two-term limit.

hand voting with Palau flag in background

Photo: 123 RF