Marshall Islands votes

Marshall Islands votes

Marshall Islands votes

Updated 19 December 2011, 12:42 AEDT

The people of the Marshall Islands are going to the polls, with the country's diplomatic relationship with either Taiwan or Mainland China one of the main issues affecting voters.

The United Democratic Party, led by President Kessai Note is hoping to win it third fourth year term.

But last week the speaker of the Marshall Island's Legislature Litokwa Tomeing defected to the opposition, in protest at the island's diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, saying it must now adopt a one China Policy.

The Marshall Islands switched allegiances from Mainland China to Taiwan in 1998, and is one of only 24 countries worldwide which recognises the "Republic of China" as a nation in it's own right.

Mr Tomeing's move has led to speculation Marshall Islands will change its allegiances back to the Mainland.

Just 36,000 people are eligible for voting, but the large number of postal votes means it will be a fortnight before a result can be announced.