26 Aug 2004

Tuvalu PM describes supporter's betrayal

7:27 am on 26 August 2004

The Prime Minister of Tuvalu has been ousted in a vote of no-confidence.

The motion was put forward by the opposition leader, Apisai Ielemia.

A government member, Elisala Pita, crossed the floor, boosting opposition numbers to nine in the 15 member house.

The Speaker voted with the majority.

The government received just five votes because one of its members is in New Zealand seeking medical treatment.

Saufatu Sopoaga says the move came as a shock, and he's disappointed at the treachery of his own MP.

"He tricked me, when I asked him whether he knew of any motion being proposed, to be raised, he said no, he is not aware of it."

A new government is expected to be formed within two weeks.