Three in the running for Kiribati presidential election
Three Kiribati parliamentarians will face off in the presidential election set for next month.
Three Kiribati parliamentarians will face off in the presidential election set for next month, following the election of a new parliament last month.
The new president will replace Anote Tong who has stepped down after filling the role for the maximum allowed period of 12 years.
Indira Moala has more,
Two of the candidates belong to the long dominant Boutokaan Te Koaua, or BTK party, Rimeta Beniamina and Tianeti Ioane, while Taaneti Mamau is the nominee of a coalition that has formed in the new parliament.
Teburoro Tito, a former Kiribati President, and a member of the coalition, says the people want a change in leadership.
Mr Tito says the opposition's candidate, Taaneti Mamau is the most suitable to lead Kiribati.
Mr Tito acknowledges that the outgoing president Anote Tong put Kiribati on the world map through his fight against climate change, but says domestic matters suffered.
TEBURORO TITO: That's the mood of the day, I mean, people want a change. The change is overdue, 12 years is rather too long. And of course, people have seen many things going down - the economy, the employment, the standard of education and the quality of health. So people are very in the mood for change.
Rimeta Beniamina disputes that view and says as far as he is aware, most residents are happy with the progress the country has made and are not seeking change.
RIMETA BENIAMINA: In the last 12 years the outgoing government has managed to fairly distribute the benefits of growth, the benefits of development to the people of Kiribati. And people are talking about the benefits that they have seen themselves and most of them want to continue this type of administration.
Meanwhile, opposition candidate Taaneti Mamau says he's confident he has the right support to lead the change in government.
Mr Mamau says he hopes the elections will be neutral and fair as people are excited about the chance to vote in a new president.
TAANETI MAMAU: We're confident that the number in the party doesn't really matter it's the people's confidence and trust in their leader. I'm confident and I'm hoping that I'm the right ideal candidate to make a breakthrough.
All three candidates are expected to take part in a public debate to broadcast live on national radio next week.
The Electoral Commission is yet to announce the dates for the presidential elections but reports suggest they are likely around 17th March.
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