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House of Delegates

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A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name (generic / translated) Olbiil Era Kelulau / National Congress
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name House of Delegates
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senate
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 4 November 2008
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the House of Delegates on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
The November 2008 parliamentary elections were held jointly with the presidential elections as well as a referendum on proposed constitutional amendments. Palau became independent in 1994 upon the entry into force of a Compact of Free Association with the US. The US which had administered Palau until 1978 under a UN trusteeship (Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) continues to provide financial assistance and remains in charge of the country's defence.

In the previous elections held in November 2004 Palauans also approved several constitutional amendments including a three-term limit for parliamentarians and the election of a presidential ticket composed of a President and Vice-President. Based on the recommendation of the Reapportionment Committee of July 2005 the statutory number of members of the Senate increased from nine to 13 starting from the 2008 elections.

Prior to the 2008 elections the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by four members of the House of Delegates including House Speaker Antonio Bells to the three-term limit for parliamentarians. The Supreme Court ruled that the 2004 amendments applied to the terms served before 2004 with the exception that no legislators elected in 2004 would be unseated until that term ended. Three long-serving senators who were barred from standing for re-election in 2008 ran for President and Vice-President.

In the end 43 candidates including a record seven women ran for the Senate. Another 44 candidates including three women stood for the elections to the 16-member House of Delegates. There were no women in either chamber of the outgoing parliament. As there are no political parties in Palau all candidates stood as independents.

The media focused on the senatorial elections in which candidates are elected from a nationwide constituency. President Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr. who was constitutionally barred from running for a third presidential term stood for election to the Senate. In early October Mr. Surangel Whipps Jr. son of the Senate President announced his intention to run for the Senate. Due to this last-minute decision his name did not appear on the election ballot. He launched a website calling for voters to write down his name in full on the ballot paper.

According to the official results Mr. Whipps Jr. received the most votes in the Senate race. Outgoing President Remengesau was elected in 11th position. Ms. Kathy Kesolei and Ms. Regina Mesebeluu became the first women Senators in Palau. No women were elected to the House of Delegates.

Mr. Johnson Toribiong won the closest presidential elections in Palau's history with 5 040 votes only 212 more than Mr. Elias Camsek Chin. Both candidates had pledged to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Mr. Toribiong was sworn in as President on 15 January 2009.

In the referendum on 22 constitutional amendments jointly held with the 2008 elections Palauans approved a proposal to elect the President and Vice President separately.

On 15 January 2009 the newly elected National Congress held its first session. The House of Delegates elected Mr. Noah Idechong as its new Speaker while the Senate elected Mr. Mlib Tmetuchl as its new President.
Voter turnout
Round no 14 November 2008
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
6'096 (42.66%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Election Commission (18.11.2008)

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