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Presidential candidates Raynold Oilouch and Surangel Whipps Jr will advance to the 03 November race for the presidency, according to the unofficial result from the Palau Election Commission.
Slightly less than 8,000 voters cast their votes in last Tuesday’s primary election, with Whipps Jr topping the race with 3,546 votes and Oilouch second with 1,984 votes.
Along with Oilouch and Whipps, two other candidates Alan Seid and Johnson Toribiong squared off in the 22 September primary.
Seid and Toribiong however did not garner enough votes to take the top two spots.
Toribiong was third with 1,145 votes and Seid the fourth with 983 votes, according to the unofficial results from the Commission.
Although the absentee votes are still scheduled to be counted on Sept. 29, the lead of the top two candidates are enough for Seid and Toribiong to concede.
Whipps lead in all the hamlets in Koror and Airai, also in all states.
The voter turnout for the primary though was only at 30 percent of the total registered voters of 25,281. The turnout is expected to increase after the absentee ballots are tabulated next week.
According to the Surangel for President Facebook page, 1,025 absentee ballots have been received by the Election Commission out of the nearly 2,000 ballots sent out.
The official result is expected to be certified at the end of next week.
Oilouch in a Facebook post thanked the people that voted in the primary election. He said the election went well and thanked the Lord.
Whipps in an interview thanked the people for participating in the democratic process.
He also thanked the three other candidates for the fair and good election and for informing well the public on the various issues.
Seid for his part , thanked the people who supported him in the race to the presidency.
“The results are clear so I want to concede and congratulate Surangel Whipps, Jr and VP Arnold Oilouch who are the clear winners of the primary. Good luck to both of them,” Seid said.
Toribiong also offered his congratulations to Whipps and Oilouch for making it to the general election.
“I extend to all the people of Palau, at home and abroad, my appreciation to you for freely exercising your right to vote to choose our next President to lead our nation in the next four years. I offer my congratulations to Surangel Whipps, Jr. and Reynold Oilouch for winning the right to run for President in the General Election on November 3, 2020,” he said in a statement.
With the country in the midst of COVID-related economic crisis, some voters said the economy will be important to them in their decision on who to vote for.
Whipps has campaigned for tax reform, improved the educational system and a government that invests on its people.
Oilouch meanwhile is campaigning for better housing for Palauans and continuity of a stable government.
As President Tommy Remenegsau ends his two-term limit this year, both Whipps and Oilouch offer a fresh approach to economic development
SOURCE: ISLAND TIMES/PACNEWS
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