14 Jan 2011

Tongan Democrat Akilisi Pohiva resigns as health minister

6:28 am on 14 January 2011

Tonga's health minister, Akilisi Pohiva, has resigned just two weeks after being appointed to the post.

The Taimi Media Network reports that Mr Pohiva gave two reasons for stepping down on the day he was due to be sworn in.

He says he has been opposed to two non-elected politicians being given cabinet posts in the new government which was formed after mainly democratic elections in November.

Mr Pohiva was also against being asked to sign an unspecified cabinet document before the planned swearing-in yesterday.

The swearing-in ceremony has been deferred until today.

It is not known who will be given the health portfolio.

Mr Pohiva, who is the leader of the Democratic Party of Friendly Islands, had expressed disappoinment at his party being given only two out of the 11 ministries in the government announced by the new prime minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, late last month.

His party had won 12 out of 17 constituencies open for democratic elections.