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2020 is an election year for Palau and with eight months to go before the primary elections, four candidates have declared intention to seek the presidency.
Surangel Whipps Jr., a former politician, and a businessman is again running for the presidency and is believed to be the strongest candidate.
Whipps, 51. is President Tommy Remengesau’s brother in law and run and lost against the current president with a slim margin.
Whipps’ is the CEO of Surangel and Sons Co., one of the most successful and Palauan owned companies in Palau.
Whipps's career in politics began in 2008 when he made history by becoming the first senator to win by write-in. He also garnered the highest percentage of votes in the senate race in 2008 and 2011.
According to his Surangel Jr. 2020, Facebook page his motivation is “fueled by our citizens’ need for real change that can uplift their quality of life in our homeland. This past year, we are encouraged by people’s initiatives that affirm the movement for that change.”
Another candidate that threw in his hat into the presidential pool is the sitting Vice President Raynold Oilouch Jr.
Oilouch, 54 announced his candidacy in October of 2019 and a lawyer by trade, he spent two terms as a senator before winning the vice-presidential post in 2016.
If he wins, Oilouch said that one of the biggest priorities is to support housing projects, he also wants to continue the programs that President Remengesau put in place.
“There are some good policies and good projects that are currently on-going that we need to continue and we need to also improve upon because housing projects are one of the biggest priority projects so that’s a good thing to do,” he said.
Oilouch as vice president also holds the portfolio as Minister of Justice.
Former President Johnson Toribiong, 74 is also making a comeback as one of the candidates for 2020.
Toribiong served as president from Nov. 2009 to January 2013. He runs several times for president in 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012. He won in 2008 but only serve one term after being defeated by Remengesau in 2012 elections.
Toribiong is a lawyer and voted to reform the foreign investment law in Palau if he wins the election.
He also said he will make sure that Palauans will take more part in the development of the private sector, which he said is occupied mostly by foreign workers.
He plans to liberalise the investment law to allow corporations to sell their shares.
“I am a free enterprise man,” he said.
He said that he wants Palau to be an investment-friendly country, where it will be easier for investors to come in.
Businessman Alan Seid, 62, is the fourth candidate and said that economics and business-related venture is his forte.
He served the Palau Senate from 2005 to 2009 and the House of Delegates from 1989 to 2000.
He said he would be focusing his agenda into creating more revenues for the country, reforming the National Development Bank of Palau (NDBP) to allow Palauans to have some access to capital to start a small business.
He is also betting on the blockchain technology, gaming, and cannabis as a potential industry for the country.
“I consider myself pro-business, pro commerce and trade, pro foreign investments and pro- entrepreneur,” Seid said.....PACNEWS
SOURCE: MARIANAS BUSINESS JOURNAL/PACNEWS
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