3 Dec 2007

Votes still being counted in Marshalls two weeks after poll

6:10 am on 3 December 2007

Final vote results are still not available in the Marshall Islands although counting in the capital, Majuro, finished more than a week ago.

The counting of postal ballots set to begin tomorrow.

Candidates have been complaining about the irregularities in the handling of the

off-shore vote that could determine the outcome of many of the 33 seats in parliament.

Several candidates say their supporters overseas received their ballot papers after the deadline for posting them back.

There have also been objections to the ballot papers being held in a filing cabinet at the Post Office.

Last Friday, the Chief Electoral Officer, Carl Alik, ordered that all ballots be brought to the counting headquarters and kept under police guard.

Preliminary results from the Majuro vote indicate that the opposition, Aelon Kein Ad, or Our Islands party, has won more seats than the ruling United Democratic Party.

But candidates are separated by as few as 10 votes in a number of cases.