News World Nauru President Baron Waqa loses bid for re-election

Nauru President Baron Waqa loses bid for re-election

Nauru President
Baron Waqa was not re-elected for a seat in his constituency in the national election. Photo: ABC
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Results from the Nauru Electoral Commission show the incumbent President of Nauru has lost his bid to return to power.

Baron Waqa has not been re-elected for a seat in his constituency of Boe during the national election that took place on Saturday.

Mr Waqa had held the presidential title since 2013.

More than 7000 voters were registered to take part in the poll to determine who will govern for the next three years.

Voters elect members from their constituencies which make up Nauru’s Parliament of 19 members.

Those members will ultimately decide who should hold the presidency.

In the run up to the election there was speculation that the country’s Finance minister, David Adeang, was bidding to oust Baron Waqa by backing a rival candidate in his constituency.

Ronald Kun, a former Nauruan minister who fled to New Zealand, told the ABC that new candidates had been installed in the Boe constituency before the election.

“In Baron’s constituency there’s another candidate who has been put up by David Adeang, the Minister for Finance, and he’s putting his support behind that candidate instead of his colleague in the Government,” he said.

“We know what that’s about because from our standpoint, David is pursuing the presidency.”

Mr Waqa was contesting his constituency against four other candidates, with two of them, Asterio Appi and Martin Hunt, elected to Parliament.

Another candidate in his constituency Mathew Batsiua, a former foreign minister and member of the Nauru 19, was not elected and came fourth.

Number-boosting accusations

Mr Waqa’s Government was accused of artificially boosting its support by granting citizenship to foreigners.

One Nauru-born campaign worker told the ABC that these new citizens are mainly Chinese people employed by the Government.

“It’s been posted on Facebook, new names of these Chinese people,” said a former Treasury worker who was dismissed for criticising Mr Waqa’s Government and who asked to remain anonymous.

Joseph Cain, Nauru’s electoral commissioner, told the ABC the new citizens had to be included in the electoral roll.

“The gazette for these new citizens was published at 16.58 on 3 August, two minutes before the roll closed,” he said.

“Because the gazette was published before the close of the roll, I am required to obey the law and place these new citizens on the electoral roll.”