Tuvalu’s Opposition waiting to hear from GG

By Robert Matau

Mon 01 Jul 2013

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FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu ---- TUVALU’S opposition caucus beefed up as a majority with the recent by-election result on Nukufetau Island has presented a petition to the Governor General seeking the use of his special powers to reconvene parliament.

Enele Sopoaga and his caucus presented the petition on Saturday afternoon after the announcement that the Nukufetau by-election was won by their candidate Pita Elisala.

Elisala, a former Ministry of Fisheries official, polled 537 votes to beat his opponent Peteli Niuatui who polled 264 votes in the by-election for the Nukufetau seat which vacated by the death of Finance Minister Lotoala Metia in December last year.

Elisala’s election means the Opposition led by Sopoaga now has the majority of eight seats whilst the government has seven seats.

Opposition member Taukelina Finikaso said they were now ready to form a new Government and given that in the last six months they have not had a full parliament session they felt the full parliament machinery needs to be activated.

“We have the majority now and we know this government will not call a parliament session so we are asking the Governor General to activate his own special powers to convence parliament.

“He has not given us a date but he has asked us for time to seek advice from his advisors and then get back to us,” Finikaso said.

Under Section 52 of Tuvalu’s constitution, the Governor General only acts on the advice of Cabinet or the Prime Minister or another Minister acting under the general or special authority of Cabinet.

The last parliament session was in December last year when Metia was flown back from New Zealand for the budget session but flown out to Suva soon after that, where he died.

Meanwhile celebrations were continuing in Elisala’s camp.

“I am very thankful to the overwhelming support given to my candidacy by the patriotic Nukufetau people,” Elisala told Islands Business.

“I also thank the Almighty for answering the prayers of my people after months of being vcitimised.  His guidance will be the basis of my contribution to the peaceful economic and social development of Tuvalu,” Elisala said.

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