6 Aug 2013

New Tuvalu government waits on a legal decision

5:13 pm on 6 August 2013

There are concerns within the new Tuvalu government as it awaits a court decision after weeks of political turmoil came to a head last week.

The government of Willie Telavi was voted out of office but not before Mr Telavi attempted to dismiss the governor general and the governor general took the same action against the prime minister.

The governor general had stepped into the crisis after the Telavi government had failed to call parliament for nearly 8 months, apparently to avoid a vote of no confidence.

That vote eventually took place last Friday and the opposition won 8-to-5 in the 15-member house..

Opposition leader, Enele Sopoaga, was formally made prime minister at the weekend and sworn in on Monday afternoon.

Taukelina Finikaso, who is part of the new government, says they are still waiting to hear what the High Court has to say about last week's developments. Don Wiseman spoke to him.

TAUKELINA FINIKASO: Recent events might have surpassed those issues, but the office of the attorney general has sent in an ex-parte application to the chief justice in the High Court seeking an order on the legality of the prime minister removing the governor general and also the governor general's proclamation of removing the prime minister. And we are still awaiting the decision by the chief justice.

DON WISEMAN: Have you got any idea how far away that is?

TK: Well, I don't know because in the ruling that he gave us earlier he was wondering whether the interested parties in these cases would like to put in submissions on it. So we haven't had any further rulings from him or orders from him to say how much time he wants to give us or whether he will do it by himself, you know? So until he gives us further orders, for us, we'll leave it like this at the moment, because we have legally removed the government by a motion of no-confidence that was passed last Friday.

DW: All right. So business as normal for the new government. What's first on the agenda?

TK: Well, first on the agenda we have to look into issues that we think will benefit the country the most, and this will have to be looking at issues like developments in the outer islands. And, of course, Tuvalu has been looking at climate change and all these big issues that we are concerned with. So those are some of the big issues that we have in mind. Otherwise, by tomorrow we'll be back in office. And we'll start meeting from then on and try and formulate a policy which we'd like to issue out to the country on what we are trying to achieve.

DW: You'll make a general policy statement to the country, what, tomorrow? Later this week? When?

TK: Yes, most probably later on in the week, because we'll be sitting down and brainstorming these issues, and then hopefully come up with some sort of policy paper towards the end of the week.