Ngiratkel Etpison

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Ngiratkel Etpison
5th President of Palau
In office
January 1, 1989 – January 1, 1993
Vice President Kuniwo Nakamura
Preceded by Thomas Remengesau Sr.
Succeeded by Kuniwo Nakamura
Personal details
Born (1925-05-03)3 May 1925
Koror, Palau
Died 1 August 1997(1997-08-01) (aged 72)
Riverside, California
Political party Republican

Ngiratkel Etpison (3 May 1925 – 1 August 1997)[1] was a politician from Palau.


He was elected the country's president in the 1988 elections, the final elections conducted under a plurality voting system, in which he received just 26% of the votes cast, defeating opponent Roman Tmetuchl by a margin of 31 votes. The near-tie led elections in Palau to be reformed, and after that they were conducted under majority voting, with a second round if no candidate received more than half of all votes cast. He served from 1 January 1989 to 1 January 1993. He ran again in the 1992 elections, but attracted just 2,084 votes compared to rivals Johnson Toribiong with 3,188 votes and Kuniwo Nakamura with 3,125 votes.[2]


Ngiratkel Etpison was the first president that survived his entire presidency. (Haruo Remeliik was murdered and Lazarus Salii committed suicide by shooting, both while in office.)

While in office, Etpison proposed a request to the United States of America to grant Palau independence from its 43-year U.N. trusteeship. Because of the Palauan constitutional requirement of achieving a 75% majority vote, the initial proposal was overturned. This proposal would later develop into the Compact of Free Association, an agreement with the United States that would grant independence to the Republic of Palau. The Compact of Free Association was approved by the United States in 1994 under Kuniwo Nakamura after negotiating a 50-year stimulus plan to support Palau's founding of its new Republic in exchange for military assets in land.[3]

Business work[edit]

President Etpison's grave site outside the Ngatpang State Office, Ngatpang, Palau

Ngiratkel Etpison founded the NECO group of companies in 1945. He started by using a Japanese scrapped generator to make ice candy, later becoming one of the prominent businessmen of Palau. He started the first tourist and sightseeing business in the 1970s, and in 1984 opened Palau Pacific Resort, Palau's most luxurious beach resort.[4]


  1. ^ Etpison, Amanda (1995), Palau: Portrait of Paradise, NECO Corp 
  2. ^ Hassall, Graham; Saunders, Cheryl (2002), Asia-Pacific constitutional systems, Cambridge University Press, p. 93, ISBN 978-0-521-59129-4 
  3. ^ A, P (1990), "World IN BRIEF : PALAU : Voters Block Plan for Self-Government", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times 
  4. ^ Etpison, Amanda (1995), Palau: Portrait of Paradise, NECO Corp 
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Remengesau, Sr.
President of Palau
Succeeded by
Kuniwo Nakamura