Former Palau president Tommy Remengesau Jr has announced his candidacy for president on 24 February, outlining his vision for a “caring government” that prioritises the needs of the people.

Remengesau, who served four terms as president, said he was motivated to run again by a petition signed by citizens urging him to return to office. He emphasized the importance of “listening” to the concerns of Palauans and working collaboratively with national, state, and traditional leaders.

“Our decision to seek the Presidency is motivated by our strong and shared belief that the most important responsibility of our government is to help and support our families and livelihoods against the hardships of our daily lives,” Remengesau said in a statement.

His campaign slogan, “Together, we can make tomorrow BETTER,” reflects his focus on unity and collective action in tackling Palau’s challenges, which include economic hardship and environmental concerns.

Several prominent figures voiced their support for Remengesau’s candidacy, citing his experience and commitment to the well-being of Palau.

“The people are crying out because of how hard their lives are right now,” said former Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang, referencing the difficulties faced by many Palauans.

Businessman George Rechucher echoed similar concerns, stating that the current tax system has negatively impacted people’s buying power.

Former delegate Joel Toribiong and former governor Temmy Shmull also expressed their belief that Remengesau is the leader Palau needs at this time, emphasising the importance of someone who listens to the people’s concerns and possesses the experience to navigate challenges.

Remengesau, embracing the designation of a “grassroots candidacy,” pledged to uphold the principles of commitment, communication, and collaboration, aligning with his campaign slogan.

Remengesau enters the race as the second candidate vying for the presidency against his brother-in-law and incumbent President Surangel Whipps Jr. The general election will be held in November 2024.