Federated States of Micronesia President Peter Christian, whose administration was rocked by a bribery scandal involving his family, is likely to lose the presidential seat to Congressman David W. Panuelo.
The FSM National Elections on Monday certified the results of the March 5 elections, which showed Christian’s receiving 6,716 votes against Panuelo’s 6,775 votes.
Christian’s election defeat came on the heels of the FBI’s investigation into the bribery case involving Hawaiian businessman Frank James Lyon, in which the FSM president’s son-in-law Master Halbert was implicated and charged with money-laundering.
The Hawaiian Free Press last week reported that Christian’s son Christopher Ivan Christian was also offered a “retainer fee” of $5,000.
The case involved the U.S.-funded FSM engineering contracts worth $7.8 million, which were awarded under-the-table to Lyon.
Christian, however, will remain president until Congress official selects the president and vice president.
Christian was the 8th president of FSM. He was elected in 2015 succeeding Manny Mori.
Under the FSM Constitution, the president and vice president, who each serves a four-year term, are first elected to the FSM Congress to the at-large seats, or four-year term.