Democrats recognized as NMI political party

THE Commonwealth Election Commission on Wednesday recognized the NMI Democratic Party as a political party for this year’s elections.

CEC board chairwoman Frances Sablan said the party met the deadline and was able to submit the required documents.

She said the party was required to go through this process after it failed to field candidates for most of the various elective positions in previous elections.

“So they had to reorganize and turn in documents indicating that they did reorganize, and they submitted the documents on Monday and so they are in compliance,” Sablan explained in an interview on Wednesday.

“They just took a little longer to submit the documents, but they met the deadline so they are in compliance again and they are registered again as a political party,” Sablan said.

The party, however, will have to go through the same process again in the next election year because it failed again to have candidates for a majority of the elective positions in this year’s midterm elections.

Of the 67 candidates this year, only three are Democrats: Rota senatorial candidate Thomas Lee Atalig Manglona, Rota House candidate Tricia Marie Atalig Manglona and, Precinct 4 House candidate Aaron Jay Murdock.

In a letter to acting election commission executive director Julita Villagomez dated Aug. 9, the NMI Democratic Party headed by chairman Daniel Q. Quitugua stated that they accepted 17 individuals as official members of the party during a general membership meeting on July 8, 2016.

They also held an election for their Central Executive Committee as mandated by party bylaws. Elected vice chairwoman was Janet King; secretary, Jonathan P. Cabrera; and treasurer, Emiliana Chargualaf.

The NMI Democratic Party used to be one of the islands’ two major political organizations. But after it split in 1997, it was gradually eclipsed by the Covenant Party, a GOP faction, which eventually rejoined the NMI Republican Party.

Independents are now the other major political group in the CNMI.