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Pacific News Minute

Pacific News Minute: Elections: Change in Kiribati and More of the Same in Samoa


On another big day for presidential primaries, let's take time out to catch up on the voting in US pacific territories and on elections in two Pacific Island Nations.  As reported earlier Donald Trump swept the Republican caucus in the Northern Marianas Islands earlier today and won nine delegates.  In Samoa, The ruling party swept to a lop-sided victory, while last week voters in Kiribati opted for change.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Taneti Maamau received nearly twenty thousand more votes than his nearest rival in Kiribati and was sworn into office last Friday at Parliament House in Ambo.  He becomes the 5th, president since the country's independence in 1979, and replaces Anote Tong, unable to run again after three terms in office. Tong became internationally renowned as a champion in the campaign against climate change...the new government promises to concentrate on domestic policies.

Very different results in Samoa, where the long-ruling Human Rights Protection Party won in a landslide, taking 47 of fifty seats.  A new rule there requires that 10% of parliament be female.  4 female candidates won on their own.  A 5th was awarded a seat.  Fiame Naomi Mata'afa then became the first woman elected deputy prime minister. Leaders of the defeated Tautu Samoa Party complained that government candidates bought votes with money, boxes of chicken legs, and bags of rice.  They also expressed concerns about one-party rule.  Under current procedures, a party must have at least 8 MPs to be recognized as the opposition.

In us territories, democrats have caused in American Samoa and in the Northern Marianas.  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won both, and was awarded 13 delegates to 4 For Senator Bernie Sanders...Republicans chose 9 unpledged delegates in Guam, though one has since committed to Senator Ted Cruz.

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