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Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (House of Assembly)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Maneaba Ni Maungatabu / House of Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) (from/to)21 October 2011
28 October 2011
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the elective seats in the House of Assembly.
At stake in the 2011 elections were 44 directly-elected seats in the House of Assembly.

In the previous elections held in August 2007, President Anote Tong's Boutokaan Te Koaua (Pillars of Truth, BTK) came in first with 18 seats. The Maneaban Te Mauri party (Protect the Maneaba, MMP). which had backed the President's brother Harry in the 2003 presidential elections, took seven seats. The remainder went to independent candidates. Several independent candidates subsequently formed the Maurin Kiribati party (MKP) and the Kiribati Tabomoa party.

In September, parliament elected Mr. Taomati T. Luta (BTK) as its Speaker. In the presidential elections held in October, President Tong was re-elected, triumphing over Finance Minister Mr. Nabuti Mwemwenikarawa (MKP). The latter became the opposition leader in parliament.

In August 2010, the MMP and the Kiribati Tabomoa party merged into the United Coalition Party (also known as Karikirakean Tei-Kiribati or KTK). KTK leader, Mr. Rimeta Beniamina - the son of former Vice President Beniamina Tiinga - became the new opposition leader.

Kiribati, made up of 33 atolls, is one of the low-lying Pacific island States that are threatened by rising sea levels. In September 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Kiribati and stated that climate change posed the most serious threat to the livelihoods, security and survival of the island-nation's residents and the inhabitants of the wider Pacific region. His visit made climate change a major election issue in the 2011 elections, along with traditional issues such as job creation.

In all, 138 candidates, including 12 women, were vying for seats in the House of Assembly. The newly elected members would be called on to nominate presidential candidates.

In 2011, the BTK was challenged by the KTK and the MKP. Caretaker president Tong (BTK), who was eyeing a third consecutive four-year term, ran on the government's record.

Former President Teburoro Tito (KTK), who had led Kiribati for eight years until 2003, criticized the BTK government for spending too much time on climate change. He argued that many citizens were more concerned about the rising cost of living and government corruption than the impact of climate change.

The President accused China of trying to influence the election outcome. During his first term, Kiribati had switched its diplomatic recognition from China to Taiwan.

Although about 60,000 persons were eligible to vote in 2011, only 40,000 actually registered. Turnout was reportedly higher in the outer islands but did not surpass 45 per cent in the urban areas.

On 21 October, 22 candidates secured the required 50 per cent of votes to be elected in the first round. Major candidates elected in the first round included the caretaker President Tong, former President Tito (KTK) and outgoing Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms. Teima Onorio (BTK). Elections were postponed in two atolls due to the late arrival of ballot papers.

In the run-off elections held on 28 October, 21 more candidates were elected. Elections were repeated on 3 November in one constituency following a tie between two candidates. The outgoing member won the seat, bringing the total number of re-elected members to 30. The BTK took 15 seats, followed by the KTK (10 seats) and the MKP (three seats). The remainder went to independent candidates. In all, four women were elected.

On 25 November, the newly elected House of Assembly held its first session and re-elected Mr. Taomati T. Luta (BTK) as its Speaker.

Later the same day, it nominated three presidential candidates: caretaker President Tong (BTK), Mr. Tetaua Taitai (KTK), and Mr. Rimeta Beniamina (now representing the MKP).

On 13 January 2012, about 68 per cent of the 40,000 registered voters turned out for the presidential elections. President Tong (BTK) was re-elected, winning 42 per cent of the votes.
Voter turnout
Distribution of votes
Distribution of seats
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Source: House of Assembly (12.12.2011)
Note on the distribution of seats according to sex:
The statistics include one appointed member and one ex officio member (the Attorney General). Both are men. Of the 46 members four are women.

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