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Independent senators-elect position themselves to drive election of new Marshalls government
5:47 pm GMT+12, 13/12/2015, Marshall Islands

A bloc of at least six senators-elect in the Marshall Islands is positioning itself to control the outcome of the presidential election in parliament scheduled for 04 January 2016.
 
The shakeup in Nitijela (parliament) membership — 14 seats out of 33 will change hands on January 4 when the body convenes in Majuro — leaves neither the current government of President Christopher Loeak nor the opposition KEA group with control of a majority of the 17 needed to elect a president and form a government.
 
The three governments since 2008 have been cobbled together through coalitions, and the president elected on January 4 will similarly need the backing of a diverse range of senators given the lack of a “majority party.”
 
But Marshall Islands voters have produced a new and significant twist to the Marshall Islands political equation by voting for the most significant change in parliament in decades. A newly formed bloc comprising many younger first-time senators-elect is positioning itself to be kingmakers. Calling themselves the “Solid Six,” this group said it stands for change.
 
Senators-elect in this new bloc say reform is the centerpiece of their agenda and this will drive their choice for a political alliance to establish a new government.
 
And, asserts Sen.-elect Alfred Alfred, Jr. of Ailinglaplap, this group of upstart Nitijela members-in-waiting is growing as it reaches out to other newly elected senators.
 
The group came up with the name Solid Six to show their unity as a force for change in the Nitijela, said Alfred.
 
“The result of the vote needs to be taken into account in forming a new government,” said Alfred. “If we don’t listen to the voters’ message, we will be doing a big disfavor (to the country).”
 
“On Election Day, the people turned out in numbers to take back their country by demanding a new direction with a resounding verdict of change from what has been the status quo of the last four years,” said David Paul, who won one of three parliament seats at Kwajalein campaigning on a reform platform. “Now it is our solemn duty and responsibility to make it happen — if not we will surely meet the same fate four years from now.”.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS


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