7 Dec 2021

Tonga: Three contenders for prime minister's job

11:36 am on 7 December 2021

There are now three people shaping up to contest for the Tonga prime ministership.

Tongans went to the polls last month and elected an all-male parliament, with nine new faces coming in via the 17 People's Representative seats, and three among the nobles.

Siaosi Sovaleni

Siaosi Sovaleni Photo: RNZI/ Koro Vaka'uta

The last day for nominations for the prime minister is Tuesday next week, December 14th, before parliament meets to choose the country's leader.

The contenders are interim education minister, Siaosi Sovaleni, who was deputy for a time under 'Akilisi Pohiva.

The others are 'Akilisi's successor, Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa, who wants to retain the job, and 'Aisake Eke, who was re-elected last month, after losing out in the 2017 election.

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa

Photo: Tonga government

Our correspondent Kalafi Moala said Dr Eke has always been keen on political office and was Finance Minister in the first 'Akilisi Pohiva government.

Aisake Eke

Aisake Eke Photo: RNZI/ Koro Vaka'uta

"There was a bit of a fallout and then he was put out of cabinet and then of course lost the election after that. But he's a teacher and a financial person by trade so he's always been one who would run for parliament," he said.