25 Feb 2003

Race for Kiribati president will be close

5:26 pm on 25 February 2003

Polling is underway in Kiribati's presidential race and observers are expecting a close contest between the incumbent Teburoro Tito (SEE-TOE) and opposition leader, Ta-ber-an-nang Timeon (SIMEON )"

"Ross Terubea, (TAY-ROO-BAY) news editor for Radio Kiribati says campaigning has been intense and it's difficult to gauge how the vote will go.

Mr Terubea says President Tito has been promising to improve living standards, while Mr Timeon says there should be a change of leadership since Mr Tito has not achieved anything since his first election in 1994.

And he says queries raised over the alleged misuse of public funds could well be the deciding issue.

there's an increase in public debate on some sensitive issues ...better living standards..the auditor general's report on loss payment vouchers and that is one of the issues debated in past weeks at village level and community level

Mr Terubea says polling will end at 6 pm local time and that the first results expected at around midnight.