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IONATANA IONATANA ELECTED PM

Vancouver, B.C. (26 April 1999)---According to reliable resources out of Funafuti, long-time Tuvaluan parliamentarian Ionatana Ionatana has just been elected Prime Minister of the Pacific island nation.

Parliament voted for a new Prime Minister Tuesday afternoon Tuvalu time (26 April). Bikenibeu Paeniu, the former Prime Minister, was forced out of office on April 13 by a vote of no confidence, but did continue to head the caretaker government. The vote had been delayed until the Governor General, Tomasi Puapua, had returned from a business trip in American Samoa. At this moment it is still unclear how the twelve members of parliament voted, but more information will be forthcoming to Tuvalu Online.

Ionatana has represented Funafuti for several continuous terms since Independence in 1978 and has held various posts in the government including Secretary to the Government, Minister of Works and Communications, and Minister of Education, his most recent post.

The following appointments have so far been made by Ionatana:

  • Lagitupu Tuilimu of Nanumea - Minister of Finance and deputy PM, replacing Alesana K. Seluka and  Kokea Malua respectively.
  • Faimalaga Luka of Nukufetau - Minister for Natural Resources.
  • Teagai Esekia - Minister of Education / Health, Ionatana's old portfolio.
  • Samuelu Teo of Niutao - Minister for Works



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