Divided CNMI House flips coin to determine temporary speaker
By Johnnie Rosario
The 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans of the new CNMI House of Representatives do not have the 11 votes needed to elect a speaker for the 22nd Commonwealth Legislature.
Until one side siphons at least one person from the other side, the House rules call for the election of a speaker pro tempore, or a temporary leader to call the House to order on Monday, when the leaders are inaugurated. Today, the 20 new members met, and neither side is forfeiting a vote even for a temporary leader.
Their solution? They literally flipped a coin.
Current Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao called 'heads' in the air, and won the coin toss, making him the temporary speaker of the new House until such time either the Democrats or the Republicans can pull a member into their ranks.
The coin toss came after a voice vote to elect either Edmund Villagomez or Mr. Attao to be speaker pro tempore. Both gentlemen received 10 votes.
Propst will be inaugurated Monday
Present at the meeting today in the House chamber was Edwin Propst, who until now has all but confirmed his acceptance of his overwhelming election in November.
Also present were Ralph Yumul and Joseph Flores, both men rumored to be considering changing their caucus from the Republicans to the Democrats.
You may watch the coin toss below: