KIRIBATI
Parliamentary Chamber: Maneaba Ni Maungatabu

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  Maneaba Ni Maungatabu


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  29 November 2002
8 December 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the elective seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Some 176 candidates stood for 29 November 2002 election: more than half of them ran on a Maori Party ticket along with President Teburoro Tito, who was seeking a maximum third term in office, while the others were with the party of opposition leader, Dr Harry Tong.

The electoral campaign was often bitter. The leader of the opposition accused the government of using the law to disallow him from displaying the National Emblem on his election material, while the President declared that his cabinet was defending the National Identity Act, which governs the flag and the use of the national emblem and that Dr. Tong had not written for permission to use it.

The opposition party also alleged that Chinese officials in Kiribati were offering gifts to influence standing candidates, while the ruling party accused it of siding with Taiwan.

President Tito kept his place in Parliament in the second round of voting, which took place on 8 December 2002, after failing to obtain the 50 per cent needed to win outright in the first round. His main rivals, the opposition leader Dr Harry Tong and the country's first President, Mr. Ieremia Tabai, had both won in the first round

Once the results were known, it was clear that the government had suffered major losses in the two rounds of voting. Seven of the cabinet Ministers were among the 14 MPs from the President's party who lost their seats. The outgoing government party obtained seven seats, while the opposition won 17. Opposition spokesman, Brian Orme, announced that three newly elected independent members had joined the opposition increasing their numbers to 20, and stated that it would not be difficult to convince some of the other 13 successful independent candidates to join because most had campaigned on an anti-government platform.

Once the successful candidates were sworn in on 9 January 2003, they elected Mr. Taomati Iuta as the new Speaker of Parliament.

STATISTICS

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Boulokanto Koava (BK) 17
Maneaban Te Mauri (MTM) 7
Independents 16

Comments:
  While there are no formally organized political parties in Kiribati, loose groupings of individuals supporting similar policies do exist.
Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 40
Women: 2
Percent of women: 4.76 %


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union