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Personalities to dominate South Pacific elections in 2016

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Foreign Minister Tony de Brum of the Marshall Islands attends a meeting during the COP21 climate change conference in France, on Dec. 11.   © Reuters

AUCKLAND, New Zealand   Local matters and the personal appeal of candidates are the defining issues for upcoming political contests in the South Pacific, where four countries will hold elections in 2016. Scheduled votes will take place in Kiribati, Nauru and Samoa, while Vanuatu is holding a snap poll.

     While they are a small presence on the world stage, low-lying Pacific island states have made international alliances on climate change, fighting for tighter rules on carbon emissions. They were instrumental in drafting some of the wording in the final declaration of the U.N. climate conference in Paris in December, particularly on the need to "pursue efforts" to limit the global rise in temperatures to less than 1.5 C.

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