Maamau re-elected president of Kiribati, in blow for Taiwan
Tarawa: Taneti Maamau has been re-elected president of Kiribati by more than 8000 votes, cementing the country’s relations with China.
The switch to Beijing from Taiwan in September brought protesters out into the streets, and whether to align with China or Taiwan became the main dividing issue between the two presidential candidates.
Over the past three weeks, there were allegations of bribery and interference, with accusations flying in what was described as a bitter campaign. It was also closely watched in Beijing, Taipei, Washington, Canberra and Wellington. But in the end, Mr Maamau’s victory was decisive - 26,053 votes compared to Banuera Berina, with 17,866 votes.
Anote Tong, a former Kiribati president, said Mr Maamau’s margin of victory was significant, and would consolidate China’s position in the country.
“So China is back, with all of the goodies and whatever else it will come with,” said Mr Tong, who switched to recognise Taiwan in 2003.