Upholds Gibbons as winner of election
By: L.N. Reklai
December 28, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Appellate Division of Palau Supreme Court yesterday issued its decision invalidating Koror State Law K6-123-2001, §4 and upholding Franco Gibbons as the winner of the Koror State election for the Office of the Governor.
Decision states, “Koror Constitution Article VII, §2, does more than simply specify the timing of the gubernatorial general election every four years.” Koror State Constitution sets the general election as both “necessary and final step” in determining the election of the Governor of Koror.
Despite invalidating the Koror State law that mandated a run-off election, the Court expressed its belief that the people of Koror voted in the general election under the misconception that there will be a run-off election between two highest votegetters after the general election.
“Had the voters known in November that there could be no run-off election, there is reason to believe that the results of the general election would have been different,” stated the Court decision.
The court also expressed that the run-off election served as close proxy for the general election where people believe that their votes will determine once and for all who the next governor will be.
“Citizens of Koror deserve their preferred and democratically elected governor. Mindful of our judicial role, we shall not upset what the voters have done at the ballot box. Accordingly, we order that Gibbons, as victor of the runoff election, shall be deemed, for purposes of Section 2 of Article VII of the Koror State Constitution, as having been elected Governor of Koror at the general election on November 14, 2017. [/restrict]