13 Feb 2008

Marshalls Election to be focus of inquiry

9:32 pm on 13 February 2008

The controversy-marred November national election in the Marshall Islands will be the focus of a five-member commission of inquiry appointed by President Litokwa Tomeing.

The Minister in Assistance to the President, Christopher Loeak, says the public has asked so many questions about the national election that have been left unanswered.

He says Cabinet appointed the commission of inquiry to ensure what happened in the 2007 general election doesn't happen again.

Media outlets within the country and the region branded the elections as chaotic, fuelling suspicions amongst the voter population over the results in some races

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat sent an election observer team to the Marshall Islands in November to monitor the vote.

It delayed issuing its report as planned in December because of continuing problems associated with the election, and sent a team member back in January.

In addition, four election challenges are currently pending in the High Court over the electoral administration's refusal to grant recounts and rejection of some postal absentee votes from voters living in the United States.