15 Aug 2006

Tuvalu elects Apisai Ielemia as new prime minister

1:30 pm on 15 August 2006

Tuvalu has elected a former opposition member and senior civil servant as its new Prime Minister.

Apisai Ielemia was sworn in as the country's new leader at a ceremony presided over by the Governor General, Reverend Filoimea Telito, yesterday afternoon.

The new cabinet line up is made of up former civil servants -five out of the eight new members elected for the first time in parliament.

The Prime Minister takes over foreign affairs while newcomer Taavau Teii is the deputy prime minister, with the natural resources portfolio.

The secretary to government, Panapasi Nelesone, says a new speaker will be elected today and the Prime Minister will address the nation.

"This afternoon there's going to be a parliament sitting, the first session of parliament, and all MPs will be taking their oaths during that session. And the Prime Minister will also be delivering a statement to the nation."

A former diplomat, Taukelina Finikaso, is the minister for works, energy and communication, while health and education will be looked after by former attorney general, Iakoba Italeli.

Tuvalu's former auditor general, Lotoala Metia, is the new finance minister, while the former police commissioner, Willie Telavi, holds the home affairs portfolio.