KOROR, Palau- Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau has claimed victory in the Pacific nation’s elections but labelled the win “bittersweet” as he defeated his own brother-in-law.
Remengesau scraped home by just 264 votes against his challenger Surangel Whipps, notching 5,124 votes to 4,860 in the November 1 election to win a fourth term.
“I thank you for your support, faith and trust in having me continue to serve you as your president,” he said in a statement released late Thursday.
The 60-year-old said the campaign had been the most difficult he had experienced because his opponent is married to his sister.
“Family should not run against a family… it’s a bittersweet victory,” he told AFP.
“I wish that my brother-in-law and my sister were celebrating the victory with me. It’s something nobody should go through, It’s been the toughest and most emotional election.”
Whipps campaigned on a platform of change, pointing to social problems in the nation of 22,000, which lies about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) east of the Philippines.
Remengesau argued for stability, saying his policies had helped the economy and boosted tourism to the world-renowned diving destination.