Legality Of Tuvalu Leaders’ Removal Attempts Unclear

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Attorney general to review issues of PM, governor general’s actions

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 5, 2013) – There are concerns within the new Tuvalu government as it awaits a court decision after weeks of political turmoil came to a head last week.

It saw both the governor general, Sir Italeli Iakoba, and the then prime minister, Willie Telavi, try to remove each other from office.

The governor general had stepped into the crisis after the Telavi government had failed to call parliament for nearly 8 months, apparently to avoid a vote of no confidence.

That vote eventually took place last Friday and a new government under Enele Sopoaga has now been sworn in.

Taukelina Finikaso, who is part of the new government, says the recent events may make the legal application irrelevant but that is unclear.

"The office of the attorney general has sent in an ex parte application to the chief justice of the High Court, seeking an order on the legality of the prime minister removing the governor general and also the governor general’s proclamation of removing the prime minister."

[PIR editor’s note: Islands Business reports that Finikaso, formerly a member of the opposition, is soon to be confirmed as the minister of foreign affairs.]

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