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FIJI TIMES ONLINE By THERESA RALOGAIVAU Sunday, April 26, 2009

AMID much anticipation and festivity the new Rabi Island Council of Leaders was elected on Friday night after a day of voting on the island. Voting day was a gay affair as sheds were erected near polling stations at the four main villages Tabiang, Tabwewa, Buakonikai and Uma. Kava drinking sessions were accompanied by local renditions of island music strummed on guitars. Postal votes were cast Thursday at Labasa, Lautoka and Suva.

The four new councillors in the eight-member council reflected the need for change by some.

Islanders interviewed by the Fiji Times on the date of polling said they wanted a council capable of implementing development changes.

"We just want the council to bring about changes that can improve our standard of living and make decisions that will lead in that general direction," he said.

Each of the 1856 voters who showed up to the polling booths, cast two votes –– one for the elders seat and general seat.

Each village had two seats on the island council. In the first results for Tabiang, retailer Tiare Pureti was re-elected into the council for his second term on an elders seat after defeating former parliamentarian David Christopher.

Former naval officer Iekerua Williams secured the general seat with 108 votes. At Buakonikai, former policeman Takire Simione won the elders seat and island post mistress Titaku Tabuariki became the second woman to be elected into the council.

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