14 Jan 2011

Reports of discord among Tonga Democrats after Pohiva resignation

2:12 pm on 14 January 2011

There is growing discord within Tonga's Democratic Party of Friendly Islands after the party's leader quit his ministerial post.

Akilisi Pohiva resigned as health minister, less than two weeks after being appointed.

Mr Pohiva has expressed disappointment 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.

And Mr Pohiva refused to sign a memorandum of understanding before his planned swearing-in.

Newspaper publisher, Kalafi Moala, says there's been increasing friction among party members over Mr Pohiva's recent actions.

"This friction it's erupting. It's basically coming to the surface, and again, much of it is around Pohiva. They're blaming him for the fact that they didn't win the premiership, and have most seats in the cabinet, and then now he's resigning from his portfolio in the Ministry of Health."

Kalafi Moala says Akilisi Pohiva's resignation leaves just one party member, Isileli Pulu, in cabinet.

He says the Prime Minister hasn't yet announced who will be the new health minister.