NEW TUVALU PRIME MINISTER: KOLOA TALAKE

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FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (December 14, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Koloa Talake was elected prime minister by Parliament yesterday.

His selection came during the first round of a vote prompted by the dissolution last week of the government of former Prime Minister Faimalaga Luka.

Mr. Luka, who at the time of the "no confidence" vote was in New Zealand for a medical check-up. He was informed of the demise of his government last Friday.

Mr. Talake is scheduled to be formally sworn in as government head today.

The Luka government was brought down when four members of his government crossed the floor in support of an opposition no-confidence motion.

Mr. Talake, who was one of those who crossed the floor, received eight of the 15 votes cast in yesterday's secret ballot.

Tuvalu's Secretary for Government, Panapase Nelisoni, said the new Tuvalu government will be in power for six months, when the country will hold general elections.

"He was a Minister for Finance in one of the previous governments," said the secretary. "He had been working as a special ministerial advisor in the last government ... also as a local director of the Tuvalu TV Corporation."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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