Panuelo out as ex-President likely to become new Micronesian leader

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The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will have a new President from May.

The incumbent President David Panuelo lost his seat in Congress during the general election on Tuesday.

In a leaked letter to the FSM leadership, viewed by RNZ Pacific, Panuelo said he accepted the election loss.

“I have publicly committed to a peaceful transition of power,” he said.

A national election office representative told RNZ Pacific the official results are expected to be finalised later on Friday before it is publicly announced.

Peter Christian, who served as the eighth President of the Micronesian nation from 2015 to 2019, is expected to be re-elected.

Christian, 76, is a career politician and diplomat who was among the first 14 members to be elected into the first FSM Congress in 1979.

He has also served as the Speaker of Congress twice.

A total of 29 candidates – 26 men and three women – contested the 2023 elections for 14 seats across the four states of Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap.

The Congress elects the President, and Christian had the highest number of votes of elected members. Congress votes for the president on 11 May.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS