5 Mar 2014

Tuvalu PM says ousted speaker misinterpreted constitution

6:49 am on 5 March 2014

Tuvalu's prime minister Enele Sopoaga says he had no choice but to remove the speaker of parliament, who wasn't a government MP.

On Monday, Sir Kamuta Latasi was removed after seven years in the position when the prime minister's motion was supported by two thirds of MPs during the first parliamentary session for the year.

Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi, a former speaker who won a by-election in January, has been appointed to the role.

In July last year Sir Kamuta was criticised when he adjourned parliament before opposition MPs, led at the time by Mr Sopoaga, could debate a motion of no-confidence in the then prime minister Willy Telavi.

Mr Sopoaga says he had little faith in Sir Kamuta.

"All sorts of misinterpretations, misapplications of the constitution and he was a risk to the good governance of Tuvalu. I cannot take that as any excuse to let him continue as speaker to parliament, so he had to go."

Enele Sopoaga says he gave Sir Kamuta opportunities to resign when the current government first took office last August.