August 25, 2019 / 6:15 AM / 24 days ago

Nauru president loses his seat in elections: media reports

FILE PHOTO: Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Nauru President Baron Waqa was voted out of office in the tiny South Pacific island nation after six years in power, media reports said on Sunday.

Waqa was beaten in his seat of Boe in a national election on Saturday. He contested the seat against four other candidates, two of whom won seats in Nauru’s 19-member parliament, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Sixty candidates contested the election, seeking the support of 7,400 registered voters. Final results were expected later on Sunday.

Political instability has plagued Nauru in the past but the previous election in 2016 was deemed by Commonwealth observers to be transparent and fair.

The Micronesian nation, with a population estimated at about 11,300 people, once made its money from phosphate mining.

The island also hosts a controversial detention center housing asylum seekers on behalf of Australia, its biggest foreign aid donor.

Under Australian law, would-be asylum seekers intercepted trying to reach its shores by boat are sent for processing to offshore camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Reporting by Alison Bevege; Editing by Paul Tait

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