Jurelang Zedkaia

Jurelang Zedkaia
Jurelang Zedkaia.gif
5th President of the Marshall Islands
In office
2 November 2009 – 10 January 2012
Preceded by Ruben Zackhras (Acting)
Succeeded by Christopher Loeak
Speaker of the Legislature[1]
In office
Preceded by Litokwa Tomeing
Succeeded by Alvin Jacklick
Personal details
Born (1950-07-13)13 July 1950
Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands
Died 7 October 2015(2015-10-07) (aged 65)
Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands
Political party Kien Eo Am
Spouse(s) Hannah Jurelang Zedkaia

Jurelang Zedkaia (13 July 1950 – 7 October 2015) was a Marshallese politician and Iroijlaplap. He served as the President of the Marshall Islands from 2009 to 2012. He was elected as the country's 5th head of state on October 26, 2009, following the ouster of his predecessor, Litokwa Tomeing, in the country's first successful vote of no confidence.[2]


Zedkaia was the Iroijlaplap, or traditional paramount chief, of Majuro Atoll, which is the location of the country's capital.[2] Before becoming president in 2009, Zedkaia was a five-term elected Senator in the Nitijela, or legislature.[2] He became vice speaker of the Nitijela, before becoming the Speaker of the legislature in January 2008.[2]

[3]Zedkaia worked in pharmacy for 15 years and 6 years in the Majuro Atoll Local Government. Zedikaia entered the Ntijela in 1981 as representative and senator of Majuro Attol, a post he has served in the duration of his time in the Nitijela.

Zedkaia's swearing in as President on Nov. 2, 2009.

President of the Marshall Islands

Zedkaia's predecessor, Litokwa Tomeing was defeated in a vote of no confidence on October 21, 2009, in a motion led by former president Kessai Note.[2] The ouster of President Tomeing marked the first successful vote of no confidence in Marshallese history.[4]

A presidential election, whose outcome is determined by the 33-member Nitijela, took place on October 26, 2009. Speaker Zedkaia and former President Kessai Note were the only candidates for the presidency.[2] Zedkaia was elected president on October 26, 2009, defeating Note in by 17-15, giving Zedkaia the one-vote minimum majority needed to win.[2][5] He was sworn into office on November 2, 2009.[6]

Zedkaia nominated Alvin Jacklick as the new Speaker, who was confirmed without opposition.

Zedkaia's mother, Leroij Atama Zedkaia, the paramount chief of Majuro Atoll, died on November 19, 2010, at the age of 79.[7] Zedkaia had previously carried out chiefly duties on behalf of his mother during her lifetime.[4] President Zedkaia assumed the chiefly titles for all of the lands on Majuro that had been previously governed by Leroij Atama following her death.[4] He now assumed all chiefly duties in his own name.[4] The state funeral for his mother was the largest to take place in the Marshall Islands since the death of President Amata Kabua in 1996.[8] Zedkaia died in Majuro on 7 October 2015, aged 65.[9]

President Zedkaia (middle), flanked by Speaker Alvin Jacklick (L) and U.S. ambassador Martha Campbell.


  1. ^ https://rmiparliament.org/cms/component/content/article.html?id=38:senator-kenneth-kedi,-the-seventh-speaker-of-the-nitijela
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The Marshall Islands parliament has elected the Speaker, Jurelang Zedkaia, as its fifth President". RNZI. Islands Business. 2009-10-26. Archived from the original on 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  3. ^ "The President". Office of the President Republic of the Marshall Islands. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Johnson, Giff (2010-11-25). "Huge funeral recognizes late Majuro chief". Marianas Variety News & Views. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  5. ^ "Marshall Island parliament elects new President". Radio New Zealand International. 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  6. ^ "The Marshall Islands Inaugurates a New President". Office of Insular Affairs. 2010-11-03. Archived from the original on 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  7. ^ "Marshalls Paramount Chief played important role in country's independence". Radio New Zealand International. 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  8. ^ "Thousands mourn Marshalls chief's death". Radio New Zealand International. 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  9. ^ "Month of mourning for former Marshall Islands President". Radio New Zealand International. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ruben Zackhras
President of the Marshall Islands
Succeeded by
Christopher Loeak