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Musical chairs at FSM: Panuelo out, Christian in?

David Panuelo

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan David Panuelo, the outgoing president of the Federated States of Micronesia, will likely be succeeded by his own predecessor, Peter Christian. RNZ News reported that Panuelo lost his seat in Congress during Tuesday's general elections.

“Now that our elections have concluded, I have reflected that there will be a new administration to take the reins of leadership and continue the important work of taking actions today for our nation's prosperity tomorrow,” Panuelo said in a letter to the FSM Congress. The leadership transition is scheduled for May 11.

I have publicly committed toward a peaceful transition of power. That commitment remains firm and unshakeable," Panuelo told the Congress. Christian, who served as the FSM president from 2015 to 2019, is expected to be re-elected. In his state of the nation address in January, Panuelo said this year would be the last election he would participate in to pave the way for the next generation of leaders. “I will accept the will of the people regardless of whether I am voted in or not; if elected, I will be honored to serve this Paradise in Our Backyards,” he said.

“If I am not elected, as the mandate is from our people and the members of Congress, I will take the work of preparing the peaceful and immediate transition of power to the next administration very seriously and as a top priority, whereupon afterwards I will endeavor to ensure, in my capacity, whatever that may be, that more youth and more women are represented in the seats of power and influence,” Panuelo said in his state of the nation address.

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