New speaker for Tuvalu in the new year?

By Robert Matau

January 2014

Pacific Update
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Expect a new speaker for Tuvalu’s parliament if government has its way in the coming by-election.
Tuvalu goes to the poll on January 14 to fill the Namuga seat left vacant by the sick former education, youth and sport minister Dr Falesa Pitoi.

Dr Pitoi was away in Cuba on official duties as then Minister for Education in December 2012, when he was taken ill and flown to various locations for medical treatment. He has not returned to Tuvalu since then.
Governor-General Sir Italeli Iakoba had to use his powers again to call for a by-election for the island of Nanumaga.
This after he consulted a team of medical officials to look into the year-long absence of Dr Pitoi.
Secretary to Government Panapasi Nelesone told ISLANDS BUSINESS that preparations have begun for the by-election after the decision was handed down by the Governor-General.
He said the date for the polls would be January 14. “On the 28th of December the final list of candidates will be compiled and objections will be received and assessed by the returning officer,” he said.
“Barring any obstacles, we should be heading for a January 14 polling date.”


Enele Sopoaga’s government is hoping to win the by-election, so that it can have the two-thirds majority required under its constitution to move a motion to remove Speaker Sir Kamuta Latasi.
Government has been unhappy with the Speaker particularly his handling of parliamentary business.
Latasi had refused to entertain a vote of no confidence against then Prime Minister Willie Telavi last year after then Opposition Leader Sopoaga gained a majority in parliament.

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