Pacific Islands

Hilda Heine becomes Marshall Islands newly elected president

January 3, 2024 3:25 pm

The new president of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine [Source: Pacific Community via RNZ]

Prominent Pacific politician Hilda Heine has been voted in as the new president of Marshall Islands following a narrow election win, that saw her defeat the incumbent by a single vote.

She returns to the top job for the second time, having previously served as president from 2016 to 2020.

Ms Heine defeated incumbent David Kabua 17 votes to 16 during yesterday’s presidential vote.

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Giff Johnson the editor of The Marshall Islands Journal said the vote in front of a packed legislature was cliff hanger.

“It was like a basketball game, one vote back and forth all the way to 16-16…500 people holding their breath for the last ballot to be counted,” he said.

Ms Heine has been a trailblazer for female leadership in the Pacific and was the first female head of state of a Micronesian country.