Friday, August 14, 2009

109 Candidates Certified for CNMI Elections

109 candidates certified
Friday, 14 August 2009 00:00 By Gemma Q. Casas
Marianas Variety News Staff

THE Commonwealth Election Commission certified on Wednesday 109 of the 111 individuals who filed their candidacies for different public positions, with independents comprising more than half of those seeking office in the Nov. 7 general polls.

The ruling Covenant Party has 26 candidates but no mayoral hopeful on Rota.

Independent and non-partisan candidates totaled 57.

The Democratic Party has four candidates — environmentalist Angelo O. Villagomez for Saipan mayor, Rep. Justo S. Quitugua for senator, and Willie Brundidge and Jesse J. Torres for Precinct 5’s two seats in the House of Representatives.

The CNMI Republican Party has 27 candidates but, like the Covenant Party, no Rota mayoral hopeful.

The commission certified the candidates during a meeting late Wednesday at the governor’s office with Chairwoman Frances Sablan presiding.

With all the candidates now officially certified, the commission can start printing the ballot.

There are no retention questions this year for any of the judges or justices.

But voters will have to decide on two initiatives.

The popular initiative, a proposed law, will apply the Open Government Act to the Legislature, while the legislative initiative, a proposed constitutional amendent, will align CNMI elections with the U.S. congressional election held in even-numbered years.

The popular initiative must be approved by two-thirds of the voters, while the legislative initiative needs only a majority of the votes cast.

Robert Guerrero, the commission’s executive director, said they will hold an educational campaign about these initiatives.

He said the commission is also ready to take on the challenge of holding a runoff in case none of the four gubernatorial teams get the majority of the votes cast.

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