Tuvalu News

Opposition Increasingly Confident in Tuvalu

Pacific Beat, Radio Australia

The opposition party in Tuvalu is increasingly optimistic about winning office after the  balance of power swung back to the them after winning one of the two seats in last weeks by-elections.

The following transcript is from Radio Australia:

Presenter/Interviewer: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: News editor of the Tuvalu Broadcasting Corporation, Melali Taape

COUTTS: Prime Minister Saufatu Sopoanga's government is fighting for survival. The Prime Minister has called a crisis caucus meeting, and is not available to speak with Pacific Beat.

When the prime minister came to office in August last year he held a majority of just one seat - eight MP's to the opposition's seven.

But after the recent by-elections of Nanumea and Niutao, the balance of power edged back to the opposition, who now have a majority of eight members to the governments seven.

Parliament was scheduled to elect a new Speaker last Friday. That meeting was deferred until Saturday, but neither of the meetings took place.

The incoming member for Niutao managed to keep secret his allegiances until this week. He has since declared that he will sit on the opposition benches. The opposition now claim they have the numbers, and the ability to form government.

News editor for the Tuvalu Broadcasting Corporation, Melali Taape, says the opposition has now sent a letter to the Governor General, the Rt Hon Sir Dr Tomasi Puapua calling on him to force the government to recall parliament.

TAAPE: "Since they have the majority they have formed the eight members, now they have written to the Governor General for his advice and his urgent action to select the speaker to the house of parliament.

"Actually they have selected in their own party they have selected a member, but things can only be officially done with the Governor General's presence and also because of what has been happening. But they are ready; in their letter they said they are ready to form the government now."

COUTTS: So the opposition are claiming that they have assigned portfolios to the proposed ministerial lineup and are ready to form government?

TAAPE: "Yes they have, but I haven't received anything in formal from them but I've heard they have."

COUTTS: News editor news for Tuvalu Broadcasting Corporation, Melali Taape.

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