Tuvalu PM, speaker retain seats as deputy PM crashes out | Pacific Beat

Tuvalu PM, speaker retain seats as deputy PM crashes out

Tuvalu PM, speaker retain seats as deputy PM crashes out

Updated 15 February 2012, 13:11 AEDT

The prime minister of Tuvalu and the speaker of parliament have retained their seats following yesterday's national election, but deputy prime minister Tavau Teii is one of five incumbent MPs losing their place in parliament.

The secretary to government, Panapasi Nelesoni, tells Pacific Beat the turn-out of the 6,008 registered voters of the nearly 11,000 population was strong.

Vaitupu MP and Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia has brought recent stabilty to Tuvalu though his re-election was not certain.

Voters chose from 26 candidates for the 15 seats in the House of Assembly for the next four years, returning 10 incumbents.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Panapasi Nelesoni, Tuvalu's secretary to government

NELESONI: We managed to receive the first results around about 10 o'clock last night and the last results came in early this morning.

COUTTS: Okay, so can you explain some of that. How many of the 15 members have been returned?

NELESONI: Of the 15, ten managed to retain their seats and we have five new MPs.

COUTTS: And what about the prime minister, was he returned? There was some doubts leading into the elections.

NELESONI: The prime minister managed to retain his seat from his constituency, also the minister of communications, transport and tourism, the minister of health, the former minister of home affairs, and the minister of finance.

COUTTS: And the deputy prime minister, Tavua Teii?

NELESONI: Unfortunately the deputy prime minister did not manage to get the numbers to be back.

COUTTS: So why do you think he wasn't returned?

NELESONI: Well, I don't really know. The people voted in favour of the other candidates.

COUTTS: And what about the representative for Funavutu, Sir Kamuta Latasi, the speaker?

NELESONI: [He] managed to return. Kamutu Latasi is former minister of works and energy, and of course Kamutu was the house speaker.

COUTTS: Yes, that's right. And will he returned as speaker?

NELESONI: That I don't know, some of the members of parliament will start to return to capital this weekend. The rest should be coming in early next week and oon they will be working to form a new government and hopefully they will be able to form any government before the n of the month.

COUTTS: So there will be a vote for the prime minister, deputy prime minister and speaker during that process?

NELESONI: Yeah, that will be the process, they will be electing the prime minister, the deputy and the speaker.

COUTTS: Now, apart from the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Tavau Teii was not returned, he didn't get back this time, were there any other surprises?

NELESONI: Yes, some of the senior MPs like the Honorable Tomu (Sione) was not able to come back, also Honorable Otinielu Tausi did not get the number of votes to be back.

COUTTS: So as you said ten of the 15 have been returned, five haven't. Was that expected coming into the elections?

NELESONI: I don't really know.

COUTTS: When we were trying to do some research on Tuvalu it's a bit hard because there is not the data available so I am just wondering if we can clear up a few points for you. For instance, what's the population? I have seen widely varying statistics in Tuvalu between 10,000 and 12,000 and some say 13,000. So what is the current population in Tuvalu?

NELESONI: Well, the population that we received from the statistics department before the elections was roughly about 10,900-something.

COUTTS: Okay, and the other thing that we weren't able to get a statistic on was how many registered voters there are, that also widely fluctuated depending on which report you read.

NELESONI: Well, the registered voters for this general election, the number I think we have are 6,008.

COUTTS: Okay, and so would most of those people turned out, because voting is not compulsory in Tuvalu?

NELESONI: Yes, this year's election most people were quite interested to vote and we are yet to tally the figures but we expect to have a very high turnout for the elections.

COUTTS: Panapasi Nelesoni, are you expecting that the PM, the Deputy PM and the speaker will all be elected sometime next week?

NELESONI: Before the end of the month.

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