30 Nov 2011

Marshall Islands election results still too close to call

8:29 am on 30 November 2011

The Marshall Islands parliament could see a dozen new faces when it convenes for its first session in January following the November 21 national election.

But with thousands of postal absentee ballots waiting for a December 5 deadline to be tabulated, nine of these parliament races are too close to call.

The candidates are separated by two to about 20 votes, according to updated results issued last night by the Marshall Islands Electoral Administration.

These nine close races could be affected by the more than 4,000 Marshall Islanders living in America who have requested postal ballots.

Although several women ran high-profile campaigns for parliament, all three who ran in Majuro lost.

Only two - Hilda Heine at Aur Atoll and incumbent Amenta Matthew at Utrik - won the domestic vote.

But Ms Matthew, health minister for the past four years, was only 15 votes ahead of her challenger, former Utrik Senator Hiroshi Yamamura, on the domestic vote.