15 Oct 2009

Marshall Islands leader facing third leadership challenge in a year

8:10 pm on 15 October 2009

The Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing is facing his third no confidence test in 12 months after former President Kessai Note and three opposition party members moved the vote this week.

The President, who unseated Mr Note in January last year, was in Japan when the motion was filed, and is expected to return this weekend to the Marshalls.

The vote must be held sometime next week in accordance with the country's Constitution that specifies a five-to-10-day window for a vote following the introduction of a no confidence motion.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, two senators who had backed Mr Tomeing in an April no confidence vote say they support this latest move to remove him, suggesting Mr Tomeing's slim three-vote majority in the 33-seat parliament is weakening.

While MPs in different parties were tight lipped about candidates for the presidency should the vote succeed, former President Imata Kabua says he understands former President Note and former Cabinet Minister Christopher Loeak are both in the running.