Pacific Forum Chair proposes new approach over election of SG

The Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Kausea Natano has recommended an elimination process for candidates in the election of secretary-general at the regional body.

Natano is also calling on countries with candidates to work together to resolve the row over the top job at the Forum Secretariat.

The Tuvalu Prime Minister said there are options available to help members address the issue.

Papua New Guinea's Dame Meg Taylor ends her six-year tenure at the helm of the Secretariat in January.

The leaders meet next month to decide Dame Meg's successor.

There are five nominees for the position - Tongan economist Amelia Kinahoi Siamomua, former Fiji diplomat Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, former Cook Islands' prime minister Henry Puna, Marshall Islands ambassador to the United States Gerald Zackios and former head of the Pacific Community Jimmy Rodgers from the Solomon Islands.

Palau, Nauru, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands have warned they will withdraw from the Forum if their candidate (Zackios) does not get the nod as was promised to the sub-region in a 'gentlemen's agreement'.

Palauan President Tommy Remengesau Junior said last week Micronesia is adamant there was a so-called "gentlemen's agreement" - that it was Micronesia's turn to have a representative at the top of the regional organisation.

Remengesau Jr had reportedly said there would be no longer any value in being a part of the Forum if their wishes were not heard.