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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘Covenant, GOP to merge’
Fitial says he respects Inos, remains his friend

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial said yesterday that the Covenant Party, which he formed in 2001, will merge with the Republican Party, but he declined to comment on his relationship with Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos.

“Yes, I’m going back to my party. We’re going to merge the Covenant and Republican Party. There’s a committee assigned to it. The two parties are working together,” Fitial said in a brief interview right after a joint news conference with Assistant Interior Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta on renewable energy.

Fitial said “in unity, there’s strength.”

The governor said he is a lifetime member of the Republican National Committee and has always been a member of the Republican Party in the CNMI.

But in 2001, he formed his own Covenant Party for his own ambition to run for governor. When he lost the gubernatorial bid that year, he went back to the House. He won as governor in 2005, and got re-elected in 2009.

He is no longer eligible to seek a third term.

“People have to understand, I am a lifetime member of the Republican National Committee, RNC, and I have been a member of that organization for the longest time,” he said.

But some Republicans do not support the merger of the Covenant and Republican Parties.

Meanwhile, Fitial and Inos have not been talking to each other since July over differences in hiring and contract award policies, as well as the termination and reinstatement of Ambrosio Ogumoro at the Department of Public Safety.

“I decided not to say anything anymore about the relationship between me and the lieutenant governor because I respect him. He’s my friend. And you guys better stop creating problem,” Fitial told reporters.

Inos also said earlier that despite his differences with the governor, he still respects him as governor and friend. He also said there’s no reason to merge the two political parties.

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