Nauru. In early January, the hunger strike interrupted by about 30 asylum seekers was canceled in December 2003. The refugees – most Afghans – in the Australian detention camp in Nauru had protested that Australia had denied them refugee status. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Nauru is 10,835 people in 2020. Some of them later received asylum in Australia. New Zealand received 20 refugees for humanitarian reasons, including women and children. These were denied asylum in Australia, even though the country had accepted the women’s men as refugees.
The economic crisis caused by prolonged abuses in the once rich Nauru became acute in April. The government could then not repay a loan of US $ 170 million to a US investment company. The money had gone to investments in real estate abroad. To save Nauru from bankruptcy, President René Harris appealed to Australia for help. The neighboring country had a month earlier promised Nauru about $ 16 million in aid and was not prepared to increase the support.
The financial crisis has led to several shifts in power in recent years and paralyzed Parliament’s work. In June, the deadlock was broken when the finance minister supported the opposition’s request for a declaration of no confidence in President Harris. The government fell. Ludwig Scotty, who promised reform, was named new president. In July, experts from the Australian Ministry of Finance arrived in Nauru to assume responsibility for the country’s finances, according to an agreement between the countries. Nauru had basically gone bankrupt and the country’s last assets abroad, mainly real estate in Australia, had been handed over to bankruptcy trustees who would sell them to repay the loans.
In September – October, a new political crisis occurred that led to President Scotty dissolving Parliament and announcing state of emergency. The reason was that the President, who was close to Harris, had excluded the Minister of Health from Parliament for having dual citizenship. The expulsion of the Member led to the government losing its majority in Parliament. Therefore, a new budget could not be adopted. The President and several opposition members considered that the President’s decision on the state of emergency was contrary to the Constitution and turned to the Supreme Court to have it upheld. But the court found that it was not entitled to question the president’s decision. New elections were announced until October 23. The election was won by the sitting government, which strengthened its position and gained a majority in parliament.
At the end of October, Parliament approved the government budget. It contained, inter alia, sharply reduced salaries for the government employees, a new tax on imported goods and increased taxes on eg. alcohol, tobacco and gasoline. Parliament’s Speaker, Vassal Gadoengin, passed away in December. He was succeeded by Valdon Dowiyogo.