Swearing-in of the newly elected officials of the 12th Aimeliik State Government got off to rocky start on Tuesday, December 10th, as some of the legislator-elects challenged the credentials of Ngerkeai elected representative Kolas Eriich prior to swear-in ceremony delaying the event for an hour.
During the installation session, appointed credentials committee submitted a motion contesting legislator-elect Kolas Eriich’s eligibility to be legislator of Aimeliik State due to his previous felony record.
Kolas Eriich who was pardoned after serving portion of his sentence for a felony was certified by the Palau Election Commission as eligible to run for office as sole candidate of Ngerkeai hamlet. No complaints were filed against his candidacy prior to certification by the Election Commission.
The contest was filed on the grounds that Aimeliik Constitution eligibility requirements of a legislature states that the candidate must not have a felony conviction or on parole at the time of the election.
After lengthy debate, a motion was made to suspend the rules and vote to approve credentials of legislator-elect Kolas Eriich. The motion succeeded with six yes, one abstain and one no. The installation session was adjourned by Acting-speaker Kyle Ongesii, the youngest member of the legislature, before the next agenda item of electing officers took place.
All nine members of the 12th Aimeliik Legislature along with governor-elect Browny Simer were sworn-in without further incidence with Governor Browny Simer in his short statement, calling for cooperation amongst all elected officials.
Now without an elected speaker, the legislature awaits call of the acting-speaker Kyle Ongesii to resume their session and elect officials for the 12th Aimeliik State Legislature.
The legislature is split on the issue of who shall be the officers of the next legislature. Majority of the members including Legislators Jeff Eriich, Jason Techur Timulch, Kolas Eriich, Alven Samsel, and Scott Weers are pushing for a different leadership lineup whilst legislator Wridan Ngiralmau, Leilani Senior, Larry Mamis and Kyle Ongesii are pushing for another lineup.
With Legislator Kolas Eriich now sworn in as legislator and can now cast his vote, their line-up is assured of leadership of the next 12th Legislature. (L.N. Reklai)