22 Nov 2007

Early results show opposition may win power in Marshalls

8:15 pm on 22 November 2007

Early results from Monday's national election in the Marshall Islands show the opposition party is on target to win a parliamentary majority after eight years out of power.

Five ruling party incumbents are in danger of losing their seats with 25 percent of the votes counted.

Together with the defection last week from the ruling United Democratic Party of Speaker Litokwa Tomeing, this could give the opposition Aelon Kein Ad party a commanding 19 seats in the 33-member parliament.

Although many votes are still to be counted, the Aelon Kein Ad party leader

and former President Imata Kabua says that Mr Tomeing will be the next

President of the Marshalls.

He says once in power in January the new government will recognize China, ending a nine-year relationship with Taiwan.

Mr Kabua, a paramount chief for Kwajalein Atoll, was President when the Marshall Islands switched diplomatic ties from China to Taiwan in 1998.

But now both he and Mr Tomeing says it is time for a one China policy, recognizing the People's Republic of China.