By-Election Win Bolsters Tuvalu Opposition Parliamentarians

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Claiming mandate they ask Governor General to reconvene dormant parliament

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 1, 2013) – Following the by-election result on Nukufetau Island at the weekend, Tuvalu’s opposition has presented a petition to the Governor General seeking the use of his special powers to reconvene parliament.

Islands Business reports that the opposition’s candidate Pita Elisala won Saturday’s by-election in the seat left vacant after the death of Finance Minister Lotoala Metia in December last year.

Mr Elisala, a former Ministry of Fisheries official, polled 537 votes to beat Peteli Niuatui who polled 264 votes.

Elisala’s election means the Opposition led by Enele Sopoaga now has the majority of eight seats whilst the Willy Telavi-led government has seven seats.

However parliament has been dormant since last year and the opposition suspects the government remains reluctant to call a parliament session so it has sought action from the Governor-General.

The Governor-General has asked for time to seek advice on the issue before acting on the petition.

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