5 Aug 2013

New government in Tuvalu after successful vote of no-confidence

5:35 pm on 5 August 2013

The Tuvalu opposition voted the Willy Telavi government out of the power on Friday, after weeks of political acrimony.

The government had managed a number of manoeuvres to avoid a vote, including failing to call parliament for nearly eight months.

But the opposition, buoyed by a recent by-election win, asked the governor general to act and parliament met last week.

But within a day the government had adjourned it causing the governor general to take further action, ordering it to sit on Friday and the vote happened under the guidance of acting prime minister Enele Sopoaga.

The opposition had the support of 8 MPs to the government's 5 in the 15-member parliament.

MP Taukelina Finikaso says they are delighted to have finally got their vote onto the floor of parliament.

TAUKELINA FINIKASO: We are so relieved that we have gone through the motion now and we have votes from it and it's the overwhelming majority we had. So it was quite a relief, and we are so happy with the results.

DON WISEMAN: Why did the government have to go?

TF: Because we have the majority right now, you know? And with one of the ministers resigning about two days ago, the numbers even dwindled. So there's only four ministers - there's only three ministers plus the prime minister. And surely the four could not run the whole country, what with the majority of members on the other side, eight on the other side.

DW: Can the people of Tuvalu expect any difference now that it's got a new government?

TF: Well, we will be looking to the priorities of the country, you know? What we need is we need to go in there first and get briefed on where we are at right now. And then from then we can proceed on to the priorities that we need to look into and develop the country from then on.

DW: You must have some ideas, though.

TF: Of course, of course. We have some ideas that we... But we need to get fully informed first before we can actually sit down and map out where to go on.

DW: There was clearly quite a lot of concern with some of the activities of the outgoing government, particularly the enthusiasm it seemed to have for attending meetings overseas. Will we see a change there?

TF: Of course, of course. Because right now there is only a few of them. So ministers who are travelling even to the extent of staying overseas for more than three months we have the full complement of available personnel and we will be able to man a ministry each on the numbers that we have now.