Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Sunday, 27 April 2008 11:29 UK

Nauru government claims poll win

Two Nauruans compete for fish at the entrance to Nauru's boat harbour
Once-wealthy Nauru is now in debt and reliant on international aid

The government of the tiny Pacific island of Nauru has said it won early elections aimed at ending months of political deadlock.

Although the world's smallest republic has no political parties, all nine members of President Marcus Stephen's government have been re-elected.

Three opposition MPs in the 18-strong parliament have lost their seats.

Parliament had been equally split between supporters and opponents of President Stephen.

Challenges ahead

With only 13,000 inhabitants, Nauru was once one of the world's richest countries thanks to its phosphate deposits but is now deep in debt and reliant on international aid.

Bad luck and government mismanagement have brought tough times for Nauru's population of 13,000, says the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney.

The country's debts are now approaching $1bn (500m).

Australia recently closed an off-shore camp for asylum seekers, which had generated millions of dollars for the Nauruan government.

Now, though, phosphate exports have resumed, and Mr Stephen, a former Commonwealth Games weightlifting champion, hopes the latest election results will finally end the political stalemate, our correspondent says.

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18 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
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10 Mar 08 |  Asia-Pacific
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08 Feb 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Nauru
19 Jan 08 |  Country profiles
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