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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Former Palau President Remengesau Wins Election Bid
Remengesau defeats Toribiong by more than 1,000 votes

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Nov. 15, 2012) – After the counting of absentee ballots this week, final results released by the Palau Election Commission Wednesday have Sen. Tommy Remengesau Jr. and former Ngaraard delegate Antonio Bells as winners in the presidential and vice presidential races.

Unofficial results showed President-elect Remengesau got a total of 6,140 votes or 58% of the 10,603 who cast votes in the election (registered voters totaled 15,397). Vice President-elect Bells got a total of 5,303 votes or 50% of the total votes cast.

Prior to the counting of absentee ballots, ballots from walk-in voters and confined voters, which totaled 2,407, Remengesau and Bells were already leading against incumbents President Johnson Toribiong and Vice President Kerai Mariur. In the partial tally earlier, Remengesau got 4,682 votes while Toribiong got 3,389 votes. For the vice presidency, Bells got 4,085 votes while Mariur got 3,769 votes.

Remengesau was leading by 1,293 votes against Toribiong in the partial tally. After the absentee ballots were counted, the lead went up to 1,853. Remengesau got a total of 1,458 votes from absentee voters while Toribiong got 898 votes.

With a lead of more than a thousand votes against his rival after the partial tally, Remengesau and his wife Debbie already went out to the main thoroughfare of Koror thanking supporters. Remengesau is returning as chief executive of the country after a four-year break.

In the vice presidential race, Bells was leading by 316 votes against Mariur after the partial tally. The lead went up to 456 when absentee votes were counted.

Earlier reports showed that in the primary, Mariur got more of the absentee votes (35%) against Bells who only got 21%. But this time, of the 2,387 total absentee votes cast in the general election, Bells got 1,218 votes or 51% while Mariur got 1,078 votes or 45%.

Vice President-elect Bells, in an interview with Island Times yesterday, thanked the people of Palau for their votes and for giving him their trust.

Asked if he is given the chance to choose the ministry to be in charge of then what would that be, Bells said he would choose the Ministry of Finance. "I would choose where I would have the experience and that is Ministry of Finance," he said.

Bells said that he had been in the House of Delegates during the 5th, 6th and 7th Olbiil Era Kelulau and in those times, at least once he was chairman of the ways and means committee.

But still, he said, it is the discretion of the president whoever he wants to be in his cabinet.

As for Toribiong and Mariur, when asked for their statement after the final election results were released, sent the following to Island Times: "JTKM Headquarters and the "Youth for Good Governance" would like to give a big SULANG to all citizens of Palau for their love and support. We also would like to congratulate Tommy Remengesau Jr. and Tony Bells for their victory in this November 6, 2012 election. May God bless the Republic of Palau."

Island Times:
Copyright 2012 Island Times. All Rights Reserved

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