Another controversy has formed surrounding the Palau Election Commission (PEC) as two hopeful candidates have been ruled ineligible to run to represents their states in the House of Delegates.
The Palau Election Commission sent a letter on September 12 to Dwight Alexander and Mengkur Rechelulk outlining that because they failed to resign from their civil service positions as prescribed by law, their name will not be placed in the ballots during the November 1 general election.
Alexander was aiming to represent Ngaraard while Rechelulk was looking towards Koror in the House of Delegates. "Title 23, Section 1104(b) of the Palau National Code requires all candidates who are government employees covered by the National Public Service System Act (NPSSA) to resign their position within fourteen days of the filling of nomination papers'" states the September 12 letter that was issued separately to both candidates.
Mr. Dwight Alexander who maintains a civil service position as Director of the Bureau of Arts and Culture resigned but his resignation was dated August 24, 2016, eight days after the filling of his election petition. However, the election commission said that his resignation was not completed until September 7, 2016. Alexander in an interview said that he was informed by PEC on August 24 to resign, to which he resigned on the same day.
"The election commission knew ahead that I didn't meet the deadline for resignation, but instead of ruling my candidacy ineligible, they urged for my resignation, only to disqualify my candidacy after I have resigned from my job," Alexander said.
Alexander also held the appointed position of Special Assistance to the Chief Negotiator of the Compact. "I was advised to resign from appointed position to which I did'" Alexander further said. Alexander previously served for three years as director for the arts and culture bureau but later appointed to the appointed position as a Special Assistant to the Compact Chief Negotiator. His official civil service employment status was still in limbo until he resigned to run.
Attempt to get a comment from Mr. Rechelulk was unsuccessful, however, individuals who have spoken to him said that he resigned but have to fly back immediately from Hawaii, where he was with his wife on medical referral. After being advised to resign after the deadline, Rechelulk was told that he is ineligible to have his name on ballot. Rechelilk was employed at the National Solid Waste Management Office of the Bureau of Public Works.
Meanwhile the two candidates are challenging the election commission's ruling. "PEC was aware that deadline has passed, but still made the decision to require resignation from our jobs. That is not right," Alexander Stressed.
Alexander said that they are looking to challenge the law that requires civil service employees to resign from their positions if they officially declare their candidacies. "The law is unfair, putting an unfair burden on the civil service employees, while by design gives advantage to the sitting elected representatives'" Alexander further said.
Palau Election Commission have faced ballot complaints, accused of incompetence, and threat of lawsuits this election season.
Source: TIA Belau
Source: TIA Belau