Unofficial results of the 9th Airai State General Election held yesterday (March 7) showed Norman Ngiratecheboet leading the race for the Office of Governor by a narrow margin of 13 votes. Ngiratecheboet garnered 429 votes, edging ahead of contender Collins Takeo, who received 416 votes.
The outcome is still unpredictable with 156 absentees sent out and 82 received–these ballots are still to be tallied. There could be more arriving on the Thursday APA flight, which is the last cargo flight before the absentee count next Tuesday.
The top nine (9) out of the eleven (11) At-Large candidates are led by two women, Stephanie Ngirchoimei with 660 votes and Helena Rois Yoichi Arurang with 659. LeoBen Teriong is in third place with 574, followed by Williander Ngotel with 567, Ralph Kanai with 558, Reagan Sidoi with 513, Sano Sakurai with 511, Sherman Daniel with 480, and Dorcas Ngiruchelbad with 445.
For Airai hamlet candidates, Lalie Ikluk leads in Ngchesechang with 68 votes over contender Favian Iyar with 31 votes. Richard Rechirei was the sole candidate for Oikull hamlet, and in Ordomel hamlet, Torual Gibbons leads with 146 votes over two contenders–85 gained by John Skebong and 37 by Leticia Sicat-Leidich. Kimberly Elarionoff ran unopposed in Ngerusar hamlet, as did Clive Tellei at Ngeruobel, and both got more than half of the votes in each hamlet. In Ngetkib hamlet, Bausoch Giramur is ahead with 104 votes to Ongerael Imetengel’s 53 votes.
The number of absentee ballots may not affect the outcome of hamlet votes much due to the wide gap between contenders’ numbers as well as the history of absentees splitting between candidates.
The final count of absentee ballots and walk-in votes will take place on Tuesday, March 15th. (By: L.N. Reklai)