Appellate Court denies petition for rehearing
Asserts Franco Gibbons Governor of Koror State
By: L.N. Reklai
January 9, 2018 (Koror, Palau) Appellate Court of the Palau Supreme Court issued an order on January 6th denying the petition for rehearing of the Civil Appeal Case number 17-023. [restrict]
Appellate Court had issued a decision overturning the Trial Court’s ruling and invalidating Koror State law K6-123-2001 that mandated a runoff election. It further confirmed the result of the runoff election namely declaring Franco Gibbons winner of the Koror State gubernatorial race.
In the order denying the petition, Court states that the Appellant (Joshua Koshiba) did not challenge the court’s decision declaring Koror State Law K6-123-2001 to be in conflict with Koror State Constitution but objected to the Court’s solution which was to declare Franco Gibbons, the winner of the Runoff Election the rightful governor of Koror State.
The court said that the Appellant “would prefer for this court to blind itself to the outcome of the electoral process and instead declare Eyos Rudimch the Governor of Koror. This, we will not do.”
The court declared that the law “enjoys a presumption of validity unless it is declared otherwise” and that the Koror State law K6-123-2001 was presumed valid when voters of Koror State cast their votes under reasonable belief that there was nothing legally wrong with the run-off election.
Court asserted that the “only legal problem with the run-off election law was the timing”. It added that in order to ensure that the governor is elected by majority vote and fulfill the constitutional requirement that governor is elected at “general election”, the “narrowing should have occurred before the general election.”
Court further asserted that although this was not “technically done”, the same result was achieved and that “it was beyond dispute”.
“This Court’s remedy —deeming Gibbons to have been elected at the general election —accomplish the appropriate outcome”, stated the order.
Accordingly, the Court denied the Petition stating “it did not meet the high standard for granting a rehearing.” [/restrict]