WELLINGTON: The tiny Pacific nation of Nauru swore in a new president on Tuesday after the island’s parliament elected long-serving minister Baron Waqa as its leader, officials said.
Waqa, who has held a range of ministerial portfolios, defeated former finance minister Roland Kun 13-5 in a parliamentary vote for the presidency.
He was sworn in immediately and his new administration will sit for the first time on Thursday, the government said in a statement.
Waqa replaces Sprent Dabwido as president of one of the world’s smallest independent nations, with a population of about 10,000.
The island, located some 42 kilometres (26 miles) south of the equator, once had one of the highest per capita incomes in the world due to its phosphate deposits.
However, these have now been depleted and a major source of revenue for the government comes from a deal with Australia allowing Canberra to send asylum-seekers to a detention centre on the island.