22 Oct 2009

President removed from office in no confidence vote

1:07 pm on 22 October 2009

Marshall Islands president Litokwa Tomeing has been removed from office in a vote of no confidence, with MPs in the Nitjela voting 17-15 to remove him.

The vote just passed the constitutional requirement of a majority of the 33-MPs, with many senators crossing the floor to vote out Mr Tomeing.

The Speaker has named the minister in assistance, Ruben Zackhras, as acting president.

Mr Tomeing served as president for 22 months and was the target of three votes of no confidence. The first two were unsuccessful.

Radio New Zealand International's correspondent in the Marshall Islands describes the event as historic, saying it was the first time in 30 years that such an event has occurred.