3 Jan 2012

New Marshall Islands parliament elects Loeak as new President

5:55 pm on 3 January 2012

The Marshall Islands parliament has chosen the opposition's Christopher Loeak as the new president following last November's general election.

Mr Loeak has been a cabinet member in previous governments and has served in parliament for 25 years.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says Mr Loeak appreciated the offer of the outgoing leader, Jurelang Zedkaia, to co-operate.

"The remarkable thing about the vote and the atmosphere in the parliament, which had a standing-room-only crowd watching, was the lack of rancour, the lack of argument. It was a very smooth vote."

The new cabinet is to be named this week, with the swearing-in expected within a week.