21 Oct 2009

Marshall Islands president loses confidence vote

7:06 pm on 21 October 2009

The Marshall Islands President, Litokwa Tomeing, has lost a vote of no confidence, the first successful challenge since independence 30 years ago.

The vote was a close 17-15, but just met the Constitutional requirement of a majority of the 33-members of parliament, with many senators crossing the floor to vote out Mr Tomeing.

The speaker, Jurelang Zedkaia, has named Ruben Zackhras as Acting President until a new head of government has been elected.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says the move to oust Mr Tomeing followed several changes and political realignments.

"It's been a kind of merry-go-round in that regard. So everybody is pointing finger at everybody else but everybody has been involved in what each other is saying the other did."

Giff Johnson.

Parliament is to meet on Friday from when it has two weeks to choose Mr Tomeing's successor.