Tuvalu’s former PM Sopoaga has another shot

By Robert Matau

Mon 10 Jun 2013

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OPPOSITION leader Enele Sopoaga’s older brother Saufatu Sopoaga is one of three candidates nominated for the vacant Nukufetau seat by election, scheduled for June 28.

Sopoaga and Elisala Pita were nominated by the Nukufetau community with a strong Opposition backing, and it is understood one of the candidates will withdraw their nomination during the withdrawal period.

Government has nominated career school teacher Petely Niuatui. She taught at Motufoua Secondary school and is now with the Foundation Unit of the University of the South Pacific in Tuvalu.

Pita has had a long and distinguished career with the Fisheries Department culminating in his being employed as a Fisheries Adviser with the USAID, then based in Suva.

At the end of his tenure with USAID, he returned to Tuvalu and became a Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment for several years, until he was elected to parliament in 2002 from Nukufetau.

He held his seat for two consecutive terms until he lost the elections in 2010 elections.

Saufatu Sopoaga was a career civil servant and retired from the civil service as the Secretary to Government, the highest post in their civil service.

He was elected in 2000 and became Prime Minister, but their party was involved in a lot of internal squabbles and he lost his seat in the 2006 elections.

His younger brother Enele took over from him in the last general elections in 2010.

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