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CNMI heads for 3 elections in November

I n yet another first in its history, the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is headed for three elections in a single month in November with a recordbreaking 18,000 registered voters. Election issues are centred on fixing the CNMI’s immigration, stabilising the utilities and hospital services, prolonging the retirement system’s lifespan, and fully reviving the tourism economy amid a US$3.14 billion exclusive Saipan casino to be built starting this year. The CNMI will hold its general elections on November 4, 2014 to elect the governor and lieutenant governor, a nonvoting delegate to the U.S. Congress, members of the CNMI House of Representatives and CNMI Senate, mayors for the three islands, municipal councils and for the first time, an attorney general.

There are 99 candidates for 44 positions. Governor Eloy S. Inos also declared a special election to coincide with the November 4 general elections, saving the government nearly $100,000 just by holding the two on the same day. That special election will fill a vacancy in the Senate, created by a constitutionallyrequired resignation of a senator representing Saipan after he was certified as a candidate for lieutenant governor. There are three candidates for this special election.

Besides declaring a special election, the governor also signed on the same day a bill that prohibits a person from running for more than one public office in a general, local or special election. “We find this bill to be an appropriate public policy and I therefore approve it into law,” the governor said before signing the measure. A third election, which is a gubernatorial runoff race, is also “highly likely” in midNovember when none of the four gubernatorial teams gets at least 50 percent plus one of the votes cast during the general elections, Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Robert A. Guerrero said. Governor Inos himself is seeking election in November under the Republican Party.

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