Dabwido, Sprent (Nauru)

Reference work entry


Sprent Dabwido became Nauru’s third president in less than a week on 15 Nov. 2011, following the resignation of Marcus Stephen amid corruption allegations and the removal of Freddy Pitcher by a parliamentary vote of no confidence. In accordance with the constitution Dabwido became both head of government and head of state.

Early Life

Born on 16 Sept. 1972 Sprent Dabwido was elected to parliament at the 2004 general election when he won the seat of Meneng. He was re-elected in 2007 and 2008, and in 2009 he was appointed minister of telecommunications in Stephen’s government. In this role Dabwido oversaw the introduction of a mobile telephone system to Nauru and retained his Meneng seat at the June 2010 general election.

On 15 Nov. 2011 Dabwido cut his ties with the ruling faction in parliament and joined the opposition in support of a motion of no confidence that brought down Pitcher. Dabwido was subsequently elected president by nine votes to eight in a parliamentary vote.

Career Peak

Dabwido represented the Pacific Small Island Developing States at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban in Dec. 2011. He highlighted the problem of rising sea levels for Pacific island nations and called for a legally binding protocol to complement the existing Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan.

In June 2012 he appointed a new cabinet, including opposition members, following an impasse over proposed constitutional reforms.

In Feb. 2013 the resignation and dismissal of several members of Dabwido’s government produced a constitutional crisis. Parliament was dissolved in March and elections scheduled for April. However, the elections were postponed and set for 22 June. Dabwido declared a state of emergency and brought the elections forward to 8 June. Baron Waqa emerged victorious and was subsequently elected president. Dabwido did not contest the presidential election but won a seat and became an active member of the opposition. In June 2015 he was arrested and faced criminal charges amid protests against government corruption.

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