15 Sep 2006

By-election underway in Kiribati

1:48 pm on 15 September 2006

Over 8,000 eligible voters on the Kiribati island of Betio go to the polls today to elect a new MP.

Former MP Tamwi Naotarai died shortly after the close of the last parliamentary session.

His widow Mary Naotarai, a former bank officer, is one of the three candidates for the seat.

The other two are former MP Tonganibeia Taam and Beitika Toom

The Chief Electoral officer, Betiota Tooki says Betio being a densely populated islet has a record of a low turn out during polls in previous elections, but he's optimistic today's turn out could be different.

Betio is located at the southwestern tip of the triangular capital island of Tarawa, and it is often described as the main business hub in Kiribati.