Sen. J.Uduch Sengebau Senior will become the second woman in Palau’s history to assume the position of vice-president.
Following the tabulation of all the votes in Palau, including the absentee ballots this week, Sen. Senior garnered 5,112 compared to her opponent Sen. Frank Kyota who got 4,671 votes.
Vice President-elect Senior is the second woman to serve as the second highest position in the land, the first woman Vice President was Sandra Pierantozzi who was elected to the VP post in 2000.
Senior in an interview thanked the support of women in the country, saying they were instrumental in her win.
She also said it’s always part of the Palauan culture to recognize the strength and contribution of a woman in community, in clans and society in general
“The reason I made it, it’s because it’s part of who we are as a people. It’s not going out of mainstream and not doing something totally ‘un-Palauan” to elect a woman Vice President, in fact it’s very Palauan to put a woman in a leadership position because we see it in our culture,” she said.
“Thank you to the voters, especially the woman, I particularly asked for their support and I believe they gave me their vote.” Senior said President -elect Surangel Whipps Jr. has started assembling his transition team which includes her.
“The president elect has already formed an initial transition team and we are starting to work on that.”
Senior said that despite a few more weeks left before Inauguration Day, she and the President-elect are already getting to work, putting together a team which she described as an “inclusive and collaborative.”
Senior said that she has made known to President-elect Whipps that she prefers to take the position of Minister of State once she is sworn in, but she said the final decision will be made by the incoming president.
Sen. Senior is a two -term senator and a lawyer by trade. During the campaign trail, Senior said she advocates for policies on gender equality and youth development.
In 2014, Senator Senior also co-founded the Center for Women’s Empowerment Belau (C-WEB) with fellow Senator Rukebai Kikuo Inabo and Minister Baklai Temengil- Chilton of the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs.
Although Senior’s election was a fete, only one-woman senator was elected to the Senate. There were two women candidates who vied for the 13- seat. Incumbent Sen. Rukebai Inabo was able to hold on to her Senate seat. In the House of Delegates, incumbent Dilmai Saiske lost her HOD seat in Ngarchelong to Delegate-elect Timothy Sinsak.
Airai Delegate Vicky Kanai ran unopposed. ( B. Carreon)

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