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IN what may be a record in the Pacific islands for speed of a no confidence motion following election, just three days after Casten Nemra’s inauguration as the new President of the Marshall Islands on January 11, opponents in the nation’s parliament filed a notice of their intent to move a vote against Nemra’s few days old government.

The rushed leadership challenge, unprecedented in 37 years of constitutional government, offers an indication of the volatility and apparent lack of stability in the nation’s parliament following the November 16 national election, which also produced an unprecedented result: 40 percent of the 33 seats changed hands.

The election resulted in half of the senators aligned with the ruling party losing their seats, and a strong contingent of younger Marshall Islanders elected. The parliament will decide the fate of the new government on January 25. The Nitijela (parliament) has been split from its opening session January 4, when the Speaker and Vice Speaker were elected by one faction and the President by another.

This is another unprecedented development for these top national leaders to be elected by different groups in Nitijela. New Speaker Kenneth Kedi and Vice Speaker Jejwarick Anton won by 19- 14 margins, but Nemra was elected by a one-vote majority, 17-16, as some senators bailed from an opposition coalition — an alliance of the longstanding opposition grouping of senators and about 10 of the newly elected senators, which had agreed to elect veteran MP Alvin Jacklick as President…

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