15 Oct 2008

Marshalls opposition tables no confidence motion on last sitting day of the year

11:15 am on 15 October 2008

Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing is facing his first vote of no confidence less than one year into his administration.

The motion was introduced yesterday - the last sitting day of the year.

It is only the third motion of no confidence brought in the nearly 30 years of constitutional government in the Marshalls.

The opposition says it tabled the no confidence motion for several reasons.

These included the government's lack of support for a U.S. Senate bill that would have provided $4 million per year for health care services for nuclear test

affected islanders for the next 15 years, deteriorating relations with the

United States, which is the country's largest aid donor, and the government's refusal to move forward on a previously approved and funded new elementary school project for the capital, Majuro.

The President's majority has been slim since his January election, when he

ousted previous President Kessai Note by an 18-15 vote to take control of the country's first-ever coalition government.

Opposition members say government party members will vote with them to form a new government, while the government party claims the opposition does not have the numbers to win the vote.