New era dawns in Kiribati politics
The election in Kiribati of a virtual underdog as the new president marks a new era in the country's history.
The election of a new president in Kiribati marks a new era for the country.
Taneti Maamau will replace Anote Tong who has finished his maximum three terms, spanning 12 years.
Mr Maamau was the candidate of a coalition formed among former opposition MPs and beat two rivals from Mr Tong's BTK party.
Koroi Hawkins reports.
TEBURORO TITO: This is a milestone achievement for the people of Kiribati.
Teburoro Tito is a former Kiribati president and a senior member of the former opposition coalition. He predicted last month that people in Kiribati would vote in favor of change and now applauds them on their choice.
TEBURORO TITO: Being able to determine their future after being served by a 12 year old administration which has been trying to keep on to power. We can now move one step or several steps ahead as a result of this achievement.
But RNZ International correspondent in Tarawa, Roz Terubea, says the win has surprised some, given the BTK, which put up two candidates, has a majority of MPs in the parliament elected in January. He says the results set the stage for a very interesting government formation period.
TARAWA ROZ TERUBEA: It is pretty much a very exciting commotion that will happen in the upcoming, leading up to the next, the first meeting in parliament.
One of the losing presidential candidates, Rimeta Beniamina, had been full of confidence going into the popular vote.
RIMETA BENIAMINA: In the last 12 years the outgoing government has managed to fairly distribute the benefits of growth, the benefits of development to the people of Kiribati.
But in his campaigning the president elect Taneti Maamau proved on the money.
TANETI MAAMAU: We're confident that the number in the party doesn't really matter it's the people's confidence and trust in their leader.
Mr Tito says the coalition's main focus now is on its policies and not on securing the numbers to rule.
TEBURORO TITO: We know that we may not work too hard to attract some of these people from the other party because they have already made indications when the election of the speaker was conducted some weeks back.
If they can secure this majority the new Kiribati government says it will concentrate on domestic policies rather than the international focus of the Anote Tong era.
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