16 Jan 2014

Tuvalu by-election sees former speaker win seat

3:00 pm on 16 January 2014

Tuvalu's parliament has a new MP after a by-election was held to fill the Namuga seat left vacant by Dr Falesa Pitoi, who has been ill since late 2012.

A reporter with Radio Tuvalu, Diana Semi, says the seat was won by Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi, a former speaker, but he hasn't confirmed if he will join the government or the opposition.

She says the government is keen for him to join them as it needs the numbers to defer this year's election to 2015 which requires the constitution to be changed.

"That's why they are trying to get the numbers of seats, which is 10, two thirds of parliament and if the new candidate joins the government then they are able to change the constitution but I think they have to take the motion to all the islands of Tuvalu."

Diana Semi says Enele Sopoaga's government also needs the numbers to move a motion to remove the Speaker Sir Kamuta Latasi, who the government has been unhappy with.