Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook: South East Asia, East Asia and the South Pacific - Vol. 2

By Dieter Nohlen; Florian Grotz et al. | Go to book overview

Kiribati

by Alexander Somoza


1 Introduction

1.1 Historical Overview

Kiribati, formerly known as Gilbert Islands, is a small island republic situated in the central Pacific Ocean. Under British rule until independence in 1979, it has since then experienced an uninterrupted period of constitutional and democratic governments. Political parties, however, are a rather recent phenomenon, which means that regular elections to the legislative and executive organs have long focused exclusively on individual candidates.

The British Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony was established in 1916 with four island groups, from which the Gilbert, Phoenix, and Line Islands had mainly Micronesian population and the Ellice Islands predominately Polynesian population. The first general elections were held in 1967 for the colony's Legislative Council, which subsequently elected a Chief Minister as head of the colony's administration. By that time the British were preparing their withdrawal from the colony and seeking to gradually transfer the administrative duties to the islanders. The diverse ethnic background of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands generated rivalries over the distribution of the newly available public posts. After a referendum held only on the Ellice Islands in 1974 (later Tuvalu), both territories were separated.

This process went hand in hand with growing public interest for political issues and with the consolidation of the institutional set-up of the country. In 1974 Nabuoa Ratieta became the Gilbert Islands' Chief Minister. His supporters in the Legislative Council were grouped under the name National Progressive Party, though this was a mere label without any partisan organization. With the population's growing political awareness, Ratieta's and his government's stance started to be scrutinized more critically, and, with a cabinet drawn mainly from the northern islands' Catholic population, they were soon branded anti-labour and arrogant. The opposition in the Legislative Council gathered around

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Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook: South East Asia, East Asia and the South Pacific - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Elections in Asia and the Pacific i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Notes on Editors and Contributors vii
  • Technical Notes xiii
  • South East Asia 45
  • Brunei 47
  • Cambodia 53
  • Indonesia 83
  • Laos 129
  • Malaysia 143
  • Singapore 239
  • Thailand 261
  • Vietnam 321
  • East Asia 343
  • China (People's Republic) 345
  • Japan 355
  • Korea (Democratic People's Republic/ North Korea) 395
  • Korea (Republic of Korea/ South Korea) 411
  • Taiwan (Republic of China) 525
  • The South Pacific 571
  • Australia 573
  • Cook Islands 621
  • Federated States of Micronesia 633
  • Fiji Islands 643
  • Kiribati 673
  • Marshall Islands 687
  • New Zealand 705
  • Palau 741
  • Papua New Guinea 763
  • Samoa 779
  • Solomon Islands 795
  • Tonga 809
  • Tuvalu 823
  • Vanuatu 833
  • Glossary 849
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