Government Politics of Kiribati

Last elections: December 2015 (legislative), March 2016 (presidential)

Next elections: 2019/2020 (legislative and presidential)

Head of state: President Taneti Mamau

Head of government: the president

Ruling party: Pillars of Truth party

In the 2002 parliamentary elections, held on 29 November and 6 December, 17 Boutokaan Te Koaua (BTK) candidates were successful while President Teburoro Tito’s Maneaban Te Mauri (MTM) won only 16 seats, and seven seats were taken by independents. Teburoro Tito then narrowly won the presidential poll in February 2003, defeating his principal rival, Taberannang Timeon, by some 550 votes.

Less than a month into his third (and necessarily final) term, President Tito lost a no-confidence vote and fresh elections were called. In the parliamentary elections in May 2003, MTM took 24 of the 40 elected seats and the BTK 16, the independents having joined parties. However, in the close presidential poll, in July 2003, Anote Tong of the BTK defeated the MTM’s candidate, his younger brother Harry Tong, and formed a new government.

Parliamentary elections were held on 22 and 30 August 2007. Independent candidates won in 19 of the 44 seats available in the two-round contest. BTK was the leading political party taking 18 seats, and MTM seven.

In the October 2007 presidential elections, Anote Tong – with 15,500 votes and 65% of votes – was well ahead of his principal opponent, Nabuti Mwemwenikarawa (33%).

Following the election of a new parliament in October/November 2011 – when President Tong’s BTK won 15 seats, the Karikirakean Tei-Kiribati (KTK) ten, and the Maurin Kiribati Party (MKP) three; and 30 of the 44 members were re-elected – the new legislature nominated three candidates to contest the presidential elections.

The presidential elections, held in January 2012, were won by the incumbent, Anote Tong of the BTK (42%), defeating Tetaua Taitai of the KTK (35%) and opposition leader Rimeta Beniamina of the MKP (23%).

In the 2015 parliamentary election, the Pillars of Truth party won 26 of the 46 seats while the United Coalition Party and MKP together secured 19. The 2016 presidential election was won by Taneti Mamau of the Tobwaan Kiribati Party with 60% of the votes.