Marshall Islands Prez ousted in no-confidence vote
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 15:56
Majuro (Marshall Islands): Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing was defeated today in a vote of no-confidence by legislators, who are due to elect a new leader of the western Pacific nation on Friday.

The 17-15 result against Tomeing was the first successful no-confidence vote in the 30-year history of constitutional government in the former US Trust territory of around 55,000 people.

The vote just achieved the required majority of the 33-members of parliament and followed a power struggle between Tomeing and former president Kessai Note, who lost office after elections in 2007.

Speaker Jurelang Zedkaia named Tomeing's "minister in assistance" Ruben Zackhras as acting president shortly after the vote and called for the parliament, or Nitijela, to return Friday to elect a new president.

Former president Note is vying to return to power and was successful in persuading many senators to cross party lines to bring down Tomeing's government.

The vote this afternoon followed two-and-a-half days of bitter debate in the legislative chamber.

Parliament's legal counsel Divine Waiti told legislators they had 14 days to elect a new president from Friday, which means the deadline for electing a new president is November 5.

Tomeing served as president for 22 months and was the target of two earlier unsuccessful votes of no confidence.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 15:56

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