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Early returns show Majuro incumbents losing in RMI election

Majuro-- With over half of Majuro votes tabulated as of Tuesday morning, unofficial results suggest three of the five Parliament incumbents on the Marshall Islands' main atoll are in danger of losing their seats. There are still five wards to tabulate as counting continues at the International Conference Centre. The Marshall Islands national election moved from voting to tabulation around midnight last night, as the spotlight turned to election headquarters. By 9am Tuesday, eight of Majuro's wards had been counted. Early, preliminary and unofficial results show nine-term incumbent and long-time Finance Minister Brenson Wase in sixth place in the five-seat race - but only 26 votes behind current fifth place holder, newcomer Yolanda Lodge-Ned. Three-term MP David Kramer is in seventh, and one-term MP Sherwood Tibon was a distant 11th. The fifth-through-seventh spots in the five-seat election for Majuro are currently separated by 42 votes, indicating tabulation of other wards could change the standing of candidates. Incumbents Tony Muller and Kalani Kaneko, who are both Cabinet ministers, are in second and fourth place, respectively, while three newcomers currently are in the lead, with local businessman Stephen Philip so far holding the highest vote total of 736. Another local business person, Sandy Alfred is in third place. Lodge-Ned was elected several years ago to the last constitutional convention and is an Assistant Attorney General. All incumbent Majuro senators have been aligned with the government of President Hilda Heine. Incumbent Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack has won in a landslide according to the unofficial and partial results, with 1092 votes to challenger Baron Bigler's 345. Tabulation is ongoing in Majuro, Kwajalein and dozens of remote outer islands. Final unofficial results for the nation could be announced as soon as Friday. (Marianas Variety)

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