18 Mar 2014

No confidence motion defeated in Marshall Islands

7:28 pm on 18 March 2014

The second no confidence motion brought against the Marshall Islands government in four months has been defeated.

President Christopher Loeak's government won by a vote of 17-13.

The vote followed more than four-and-a-half-hours of heated debate over last December's nomination of Jamil el-Sayed, the former head of Lebanon's security services, to be the country's UNESCO representative.

Last month the government withdrew its nomination when a French newspaper broke a story that el-Sayed had alleged ties to Hezbollah.

Opposition Senators told parliament the appointment violated the constitution because it did not have approval of Cabinet and parliament, and it had done damage to the country's reputation.

But the Foreign Minister Phillip Muller said no final decision had been made on the appointment so Cabinet were not aware of his background.