Runoff election for Pohnpei Governor and Lt. Governor scheduled for December 8
- Category: News
- Published: Monday, 30 November -0001 00:00
- Written by Bill Jaynes
- Hits: 1916
By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
November 19, 2015
Pohnpei, FSM—A week ago voters in Pohnpei lined up to vote for their candidates for State Government positions as well as seats in the governments of the municipalities. Armchair tabulators sat by their radios late into the night furiously tabulating the results from what they heard on the State Radio Station- V6AH. The results seemingly changed moment by moment and even today, over a week after the election they have not yet been certified.
More than a week later, the one thing that was absolutely certain was that there will be a runoff election on December 8 for the positions of Governor and Lt. Governor.
The Pohnpei Election Commission provided election results to the radio station as they could. The November 17 announcement named a new winner for a legislative seat in Sekere based on the arrival of ballots that were postmarked by the deadline for mail in ballots but were late in arriving to Pohnpei.
Those ballots completely changed the outcome of the election for Sokehs representatives to the Pohnpei State Legislature. After including them, Senator Rensper Liwy had four more votes than did Senator Magdalena Walter. Just a few days ago the Election Commissioner had announced unofficial results naming Walter as the winner by one vote.
Candidates had until today to register any appeals or to call for recounts.
Election Commissioner Oliver Johnny said late this afternoon that through her attorney, Senator Walter had called the inclusion of the mail in ballots into question since they came in late.
"According to the law, we go by the postmark (of the mailed ballot)," Johnny said. Citizens who vote by mail can only control when they mail their ballot. They can't control the amount of time that it takes for their mailed ballot to arrive at its destination. He said that he expected a legal opinion from Pohnpei's Attorney General that would allow him to certify the results of the election as soon as tomorrow.
He promised to call us by the end of the work day if there would be any changes in the "unofficial results". He said that if that phone call didn't come we should
plan to publish them as they currently stand.
The offices of Governor and Lt. Governor each bore a Constitutional requirement that candidates must win an election by 50 percent plus one vote. None of the other State offices had that requirement. Marcelo Peterson had just over 36.16 percent of the votes according to the still unofficial results. Akillino Susaia had 31.32% of the votes. The remaining votes were split between Feliciano Perman who had 19.28 percent of the votes and Herman Semes who had 13.21 percent of the votes. There were a total of 7 write in votes for the office out of 20,378 votes.
The runoff election for the position of Governor will be between Marcello Peterson and Akillino Susaia.
At 45.25 percent of the vote, political newcomer, Reed Oliver came close to meeting the Constitutional standard to assume the office of Lt. Governor without a runoff election, but not quite. Long time politician, Nelson Pelep garnered 35.12 percent of the vote. Joseph Villazon had 19.51 percent of the 20,104 votes for that office.
The runoff election for the position of Lt. Governor on December 8 will be between Reed Oliver and Nelson Pelep.
According to the "unofficial results", Shelten Neth had the most votes for M a d o l e n i h m w, followed by Nixon Soram, Naiten Phillip, and Stanley Etse. They will assume Madolenihmw's four seats in the Pohnpei State Legislature.
Francisco Ioanis had the most votes in Kitti followed by Alpino Kerman, McGarry Miguel, and Dahker Daniel. Those four will assume the four seats for Kitti.
Though Ausen T. Lambert, the front runner for the Sokehs seats had nearly 800 more votes than his nearest competitor, the race for the rest of the seats was tight. The votes for the final three seats spanned only 107 votes. Peter Lohn came in second followed by newcomer Brian Etscheit. The last seat was decided for Rensper Liwy by only four votes.
Salter Loyola was the leader in the race for the two seats in Nett. Adelino Edward came in second displacing incumbent Robert Nakasone.
In U, Lino Amor garnered the most votes followed closely by Aurelio Joab.
Marvin Yamaguchi and Fernando Scaliem will return to represent Kolonia despite a valiant effort and showing by newcomer Paulino Perman.
Maskie Jim garnered nearly three times as many votes for the Mwoakilloa legislative seat than his closest competitor.
The race for the Pingelap seat was tight but ended with Daniel Isaac as the winner.
Stevick Edwin will return as the representative for Sapwuahfik.
Sendilina Lekka was the overwhelming vote winner from Nukuoro.
Though Kapingamarangi voters gave more than 10 percent of their votes to write in candidates, Edgar Lickaneth will return as the representative for Kapingamarangi.
Historically, voters in Pohnpei have not participated in runoff elections with the same fervor or in the same numbers in which they participated in the initial elections. This election shows that decisions can be made with just a few votes.