13 Apr 2005

Tuvalu MP - in Auckland on dialysis - to resign shortly

4:26 am on 13 April 2005

An ill Tuvalu MP, accused of holding the country to ransom, say he will resign to allow a by-election in his Nanumea electorate.

Government MP, Sio Patiale, who has been receiving dialysis treament in Auckland for almost a year, says it is only fair to his people that he resign.

The resignation will end the Government's majority in the 15 member assembly.

Without Mr Patiale's presence the parliament in Funafuti has not been able to meet.

The Pacnews agency says it understands the assembly has met just once since Mr Patiale's treatment began, when he flew up for the day from Auckland to help pass the budget.

The agency reports a Tuvalu government source says Mr Patiale is holding the government to ransom through his absence.

It also says that the government is picking up all Mr Patiale's medical bills.