Kessai Note was elected President for the 2017 Constitutional Convention at the International Conference Center Thursday. Note won by a single vote over Christopher Loeak 22-21.
Casten Nemra won the vice presidency from Phillip Muller 25-18, while Yolanda Lodge-Ned got the favor of 41 delegates to win the secretarial seat by secret ballot as she was the lone nominee following Loeak’s and Phillip Muller’s withdrawal from candidacy for the post.
“Our right to self-determination does not stop with the Republic’s independence in 1979 but continues through mediums such as this 2017 Con-Con,” said President Hilda Heine in remarks to the opening last week.
The first Con-Con was held from June 1977 to December 1978 with the adoption of the final draft of the Marshall Islands Constitution followed by the Constitutional referendum on March 1, 1979 that led to the establishment of constitutional government on May 1, 1979. Since the first Con-Con, two others were held in 1990 and 1995.
The 2017 Con-Con will discuss over twenty proposals including the direct election of the President, citizenship, matters relating to traditional rights of land tenure, and reserving six seats from the existing 33 seats for women candidates.
President Heine joined Speaker Kenneth Kedi in recognizing the framers of the Constitution and acknowledged the Delegates of the first Con-Con who were present at the ceremony including, Council of Irooj Chairman Kotak Loeak, former President and Senator Note, former President and Senator Litokwa Tomeing, former Senator and Ambassador Ruben Zackhras, and former PSC Commissioner Lomes McKay.
Read more about this in the April 21, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.