Tuvalu by-election sees former speaker win seat


Fri 17 Jan 2014

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FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu ---- Tuvalu's parliament has a new MP after a by-election was held to fill the Nanumaga seat left vacant by Dr Falesa Pitoi, who has been ill since late 2012.

A reporter with Radio Tuvalu, Diana Semi, says the seat was won by Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi, a former speaker, but he hasn't confirmed if he will join the government or the opposition.

She says the government is keen for him to join them as it needs the numbers to defer this year's election to 2015 which requires the constitution to be changed.

“That's why they are trying to get the numbers of seats, which is 10, two thirds of parliament and if the new candidate joins the government then they are able to change the constitution but I think they have to take the motion to all the islands of Tuvalu.”

Semi says Enele Sopoaga's government also needs the numbers to move a motion to remove the Speaker Sir Kamuta Latasi, who the government has been unhappy with.

The seat was left vacant by Dr Falesa Pitoi who was compelled to resign on medical grounds.

As required by the Tuvalu Constitution Section 99 (2), the Governor General Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli declared the seat vacant in early December and the Office of Elections under the Office of the Prime Minister then made preparations to hold the bye election on January 14th, 2014.

Three candidates contested the by - election namely Halo Tuavai, Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi and Pai Teatu .

696 eligible voters, of 18 years and above registered for this bye election.

This is the fourth by-election within this four year term, the first being for Nui Island on 24 August 2011 in search for a replacement for the late Isaia Taeia.

The second was a Nukufetau by election on 28 June, 2013 to replace the late Lotoala Metia; a second by- election for Nui following the resignation of honorable member Taom Tanukale on 10 September 2013 this weeks Nanumaga’s polls to find replacement for Dr Falesa Pitoi.

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