21 Oct 2009

Marshalls President Tomeing loses vote of no confidence

5:06 pm on 21 October 2009

The Marshall Islands President, Litokwa Tomeing, has lost a vote of no confidence, the first successful challenge since independence 30 years ago.

The vote was a close 17-15, but just met the Constitutional requirement of a majority of the 33-members of parliament, with many senators crossing the floor to vote out Mr Tomeing.

The speaker, Jurelang Zedkaia, has named the so-called minister in assistance Ruben Zackhras as Acting President.

He has also recalled parliament for Friday to start the process of electing a new President.

A former President, Kessai Note, whose party lost the election in 2007, is vying to become the new President.

Mr Tomeing served as President for 22 months and was the target of three votes of no confidence, the first two unsuccessful.

Parliament's legal counsel Divine Waiti has told the parliament it has 14 days in which to elect a new president.

This 14-day period starts on Friday and ends on Thursday, November the 5th.