TONGA PRIME MINISTER FINALIZES CABINET

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First meeting scheduled for January 5

By Josephine Latu

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Taimi Media Network, January 4, 2011) – The Prime Minister Lord Tu‘ivakano has declared his Cabinet and recommended their appointments to His Majesty the King.

"The Cabinet ministers commence today, Tuesday 4th January 2011 at their respective portfolios," stated an official release from the Ministry of Information and Communication, also overseen by the PM.

The first Cabinet meeting is scheduled for tomorrow 5th January.

According to the statement, the Cabinet selection process took into account the "representations of the Nobles, the people, the various Districts and the various political groupings in the Legislative Assembly."

At the same time "political leadership" and the "experiences of each elected representative for [their respective] portfolios" were also important.

It added that the Prime Minister is confident of achieving "an appropriate level of national unity" amongst the new ministers.

"He feels that they will be able to run a Cabinet of collective responsibility but not as individuals," said the statement.

The new lineup sees several Cabinet members with multiple portfolios, including the Prime Minister Lord Tu‘ivakano, who will also oversee Foreign Affairs, Defence, as well as the Ministry of Information and Communication.

Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu holds three other portfolios – the Ministries of Justice, Transport and Works.

Lord Ma‘afu and Clive Edwards both look after two departments – Ma‘afu is Minister of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources as well as Environment and Climate Change. Edwards takes up the Revenue Services and Public Enterprises departments.

Two ministers were hand picked by the Prime Minister and invited from outside the elected legislature, including former MP Edwards and the only woman in Cabinet, Dr ‘Ana Taufe‘ulungaki.

Two leading members from the Democratic Party of the Friendly Isles – ‘Akilisi Pohiva and ‘Isileli Pulu – are also ministers.

The full list includes:

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